Saturday, 12 December 2009

Let The Annual Battle Commence

Last night we put up the Christmas tree . Well I say we, I sat back and let Mrs and L'il Wurzels get on with it. A fine job they made of it too. With 2 cats in the house, how long will it last.?

In 2007 we had a fake tree and the 2 (at the time) five  month old kittens came out resounding winners.

Last year we had a real tree, and whilst the lowest decorations came in for a bit of "feline attention" the tree (maybe because of it's natural smell or spikier needles) was treated with a bit more respect - that one went down as a score draw.

This year it's a real tree again, and the cats are a year lazier. William Hills have refused to offer me odds, but this year I'd bet on a no score draw. They watched with interested whilst it was put up but 12 hours later I got up this morning to find it untouched. But of course it's not all over till the fat lady sings (or in this scenario Jools Holland's Hootenanny is over) ...........  they're probably planning some sort of joint attack strategy as I type.

Saturday, 28 November 2009

An Eye-Opening "Must Read" Book

I make no secret of the fact that I think the UK would be better off making our own rules and decisions and letting Europe get on with messing itself up but even for me this book was an eye-opener.

The book is written in two parts, one putting Britain's membership of the EU in historical context, along with statistics as to where the money goes and how much being in the EU is costing each and every one of us (pretty shocking statistics even for an already convinced Eurosceptic like myself).

The second part describes several  accounts of how people and industries in different walks of life have fared in a fictitious Britain in 2020, having left the EU 10 years previously. It doesn't make out everything would be plain sailing if it happens but the benefits all seem realistic, and , in many cases plain, common sense. The conclusion seemed to be pretty much what I have always thought which, in my own non-political type speak is, if we make stuff they want to buy, the EU will still trade with us whether we are members or not, and vice versa, but without us having to be ruled by them.

Clearly I am going to enjoy a book which not only agrees with but actually enhances my own views, but having an open mind would like to read an account offering an alternative view, if one exists. At the moment the only benefit of EU membership or the UK that I can think of is if I went on a road trip around Europe I'd only have to change my sterling into one single currency.

The book is published by the Taxpyers Alliance, who are dedicated to ensuring we receive value for money for the taxes we pay , whether they be UK or EU imposed. They sent me it totally free of charge, order yours from HERE now, and open your own eyes to how much extra in taxes and shopping prices that you are paying to be a member of something that previous generations fought and died to keep us out of.

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Not Really Appropriate

On Sunday whilst stopping for a coffee during Xmas shopping in Southampton's West Quay shopping centre I watched a few minutes of a fund raising show being put on in aid of the charity Wessex Cancer . One particular guy was doing a pretty good Sinatra-esque performance. However, in view of the charity involved he could of made a better choice of song than " I've Got You Under My Skin".

Not to be outdone, not that she was liklely to have seen it, on her Radio 2 show yesterday morning Sarah Kennedy dedicated a record to the flood victims in Cumbria, and sympathetically chose Susan Boyle singing "Cry Me A River".

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

You Can't Always Believe Your Eyes

How cool is this?

I guarantee it won't be quite what you're expecting.

And once you've seen the ending you'll want to watch it again (and again) to work out all the other bits you never noticed first time round.

CHOP CUP from :weareom: on Vimeo.

Friday, 23 October 2009

Nick Griffin on BBC Question Time

This country allows a right of free speech. Those protesting that the BNP should not be heard are far more dangerous to our society than the BNP will ever be. They like anyone else should have their say, then the public, who have more intelligence than the UAF give them credit for, can vote as they see fit.

The BBC were right to have Nick Griffin on, he is the legitimate leader of a legitimate party. They were wrong to treaat the programme as a lesson in character assassination, it is not what that programme is about.

Having said that I thought he done himself no favours, came across as nervous, unsure of himself and even weaker as a leader than Gordon Brown if that were possible. It was Griffins perfect opportunity to dispel some of the myths about his party and give a reasonable argument as to why they believe some of their policies are necessary - he had his chance and he blew it. By the way why are they referred to as far right? their views on immigration may be but if you take the time to actually read their policies instead of just those publicised by others with an axe to grind, in most other areas they are the furthest left party we have.

I heard the answer to the one question I was hoping to hear last night and it came from the Tory
Sayeda Warsi  (love her accent, what is it Islamcashire?) on immigration, basically they will have set numbers (could be none) each year depending on many factors such as discussions with industry leaders as to how many employees are needed. (Not sure if this meant we could refuse other EU immigrants though). I don't want to see minorities repatriated, just recognition that this is an Island with finite space and resources and can not support an infinite population.

But the having said all that about Griffin, Jack Straw still managed to come across as the biggest knob on the panel.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

A Picture (in this case a Video) Is Worth A Thousand Words

I was going to post my disgust at the blatant propaganda, selective use of "facts", scare-mongering and brain-washing tactics of this government funded (for funded read our money wasted) television advert.

Then I realised there was no need. The following video sums up my feelings far better than any words I write could possibly manage.

Improved video courtesy of The Londn Fog

White Christmas ?

At 8 a.m. this morning I left for work to find my car windscreen frozen over. Not up a mountain or in the Arctic Circle but on the sunny South Coast of England.

Can't remember it happening this early before. Global warming my arse, get your money on a White Christmas.

Monday, 12 October 2009

A Refreshing Change

I've not blogged for a few days. There's plenty I could write about, the Internet only England match, MPs expensed revisited, the Strictly Factor attempts to out-scandal each other.
But no.  There's something far more important. I have discovered Crabbie's Original Alcoholic Ginger Beer.
I picked up a couple of bottles on offer in a small corner shop thinking it would something different and worth a try, and if I didn't like it Mrs W likes ginger ale so it wouldn't go to waste. Two bottles later we were almost fighting over the last mouthful. This really is a ginger beer, not a ginger flavoured ale, and unlike some soft drinks it has the perfect amount of ginger to give it a real kick but without being overpowering. Refreshing drunk cool from the fridge ( we drank it straight, the label recommends a slice of lemon or lime) it also gives a warm glow as it goes down, so it's likely to be just as nice at room temperature on a cold winters evening. And at 4% alcohol a very pleasant way to spend an evening I'd imagine. Maybe I'll get a bottle of their Ginger Wine as well for those more "sophisticated" occasions
My next mission is to find a local pub stocking it. I can't imagine the big mega-brewery owned pubs would touch it,  but if anyone knows of any proper pubs serving it in the Hampshire area please leave a comment. Oh, and if anyone from Crabbie's is reading and has any free samples available .....

Friday, 9 October 2009

Bye Bye Brown

The present parliament MUST expire no later than Midnight, May 10th 2010.
Can it come quick enough ?

Friday, 2 October 2009

Flying Down To Rio ?

Today is decision day for the IOC to annonuce the host city for the 2016 Olympics. There are 4 contenders.

Chicago: Atlanta was generally accepted as the worst run games in living memory - Chicago could find themselves tarred with their brush.  In fact they should be refused just to show Obama that not every thing he touches turns to gold (although I'm sure he'll be finding that out soon anyway, but that's a different issue) Also, any country that holds World Series in sports that only they take part in doesn't really understand the Olympic ideal.

Madrid: Surely not likely that a European city will be picked to follow London in 2012. Insistence that bull-fighting be included also likely to count against them. Also it's within driving distance of Germany which will mean delays in the swimming events whilst they clear the towels from around the pool

Tokyo: Asia is a huge continent but with recent games held in Beijing and Seoul it's too early for a return to that continent. Japanese always come up with rubbish mascots wich should also count against them big time. As should  the little known fact that the Olympic rings translate, when written in Japanes characters, as "Your  Mum".

 Rio de Janeiro: The logical choice. The Olympics has never yet been held in South America, it's time they had their chance. City plagued by child street gangs but combining the marathon with the shooting events could help solve the problem in an exciting and entertaining way. Apart from football, Brazil is a country not renowned for sporting excellence so maybe their most famous resident of all time, Ronnie Biggs, could  light the flame at the opening ceremony. Another advantage would be the chance of some new corporate sponsors, with Kleenex being the logical choice for Rio's beach volleyball tournament.

Yep, Rio gets my vote

Thursday, 1 October 2009

TV Licence Warning

I have always though that, notwithstanding the fact that it's compulsory, compared with a Sky or Cable TV subscription the BBC Licence Fee is grea value for money. But now they are taking the piss.

I recently had a letter from them at my place of work. One of those "we notice you don't have a licence, tell us why not" type letters. I didn't even bother reading it properly, just returned it stating none was required - after all there is no tv on the premises.  After sending the reply I re-read the letter, it would appear that anyone with a laptop or pc with an internet connection now requires a licence as the BBC has now made it's content available live online. At home your existing licence would cover it, but apparently not at work.

How can this be fair? Both my laptop and PC at work are several years old and at the time they were purchased would have had to have used a separate TV tuner to show any programmes. Why should I now have to pay a licence fee just because the BBC have  chosen to make some of their content available online? No-one asked me if I wished to make use of such a service. Surely it is not beyond the realms of their technical wizards to come up with a sign in system where you enter the serial number of your current licence as a password before their content can be viewed.

An acquaintance told me that he had a similar letter at a restaurant he ran, coincidentally  within days of watching a live soccer match via his mobile (don't ask me how that works, I've no idea). It could of course have been a customers mobile that was being used without his knowledge but that didn't deter them from their enquiries. In that case it was conceded that the mobile was a battery operated device covered by his home licence. I don't ever recall watching any live BBC at work, (I-Player yes) possibly PMQs once or twice but no idea if that comes under the BBC banner or not. if it does, maybe that triggers off their investigation

Despite me returning the letter stating I don't need one, I received a reply which includes the following - "We'd therefore appreciate your help when one of our TV Licensing Officers  visits you shortly."  Almost sinister and threatening in it's tone.  I can't help but read it  in a "Ve haft vays ov making you talk" voice.

It seems that just as Channel Four decides to drop Big Brother, he is now alive and well and residing a the BBC.

(Hopefully this post can't be traced to my address, otherwise this could be the last you ever hear from me )

Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Gordon Brown - Has He Finally Lost The Plot ?

Has Gordon Brown finaly lost it completely?

I'm happy to admit that I've never liked Labour, and I dislike Gordon Brown as a person even more. But even putting such bias aside, I can't help but wonder has this country ever had such a rude, arrogant, delusional, incompetent, self-contradictory, out of touch and out of his depth leader in it's history? 

Just like I'm starting to feel sorry for a few Portsmouth supporting friends who are already resigned to relegation this season, I am actually starting to feel sorry for the rank-and-file grass rots labour membership. They must already be asking themselves what is the point of campaigning once the next election arrives with such a buffoon undermining any efforts they put in.

Here he is being interviewed by Adam Boulton this morning.  Watch it, and remember - this man is in charge of our country!  Gordon, there is a reason your name starts with the word GO.

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

First Sighting Of The Year

Today, 23rd September at approximately 10.30 a.m. I had this years first sighting of Father Christmas. He went past my shop on the back of a lorry, waving and ringing his bell. Unfortunately I was too slow to get photographic proof, despite him going round the block and coming past again 5 minutes later.

Look out for Easter eggs, presumably coming to a shop near you soon. 

Monday, 21 September 2009

Ow, Bloody L

How quickly does our life pass us by? It only seems a short time ago that my eldest daughter was toddling off down the road for her first day at school. Now she's already got her own car and is currently taking driving lessons. Where did those years go?

Just before her birthday I was letting her drive my car round an empty car park near home to get the feel of thing before her first lesson with a proper instructor. Which, although she done OK for a first time behind the wheel, was pretty scary. A few short weeks later and we went out for a drive last night, already she seems confident and in control. I'm not a good passenger at the best of times but I felt quite relaxed with her driving.

She wanted to practice reversing into parking bays, so we headed for a car park not far from my shop. I've no idea why this car park was ever built, it's in an area where no one is ever likely to want to park and the only cars you ever see in there are learners practising. My Mum learned in there as did I and my brothers, now my daughter was making use of it, as were 2 others who were doing the same thing at the same time

Her reversing into bays was soon nice and straight and controlled but it seemed to me she was stopping well short, even though she thought she was reversing as far back as she could . So I decided to stand behind her whilst she reversed , telling her to stop when she thought she was within inches of my legs. First she stopped about 4 feet short which I indicated with my arms wide apart. She edged back a bit more but was still about 2 feet short, with me doing the appropriate "I caught one this big" with my hands. Now she thought it would be funny to scare me so she put her foot down and - much to her amusement and that of her little sister sat in the back - proceeded to drive straight over my foot!

Surprisingly the weight of a Ford Ka and two occupants didn't actually hurt very much and hasn't done any damage - at least none I can see although I do keep getting a funny tingling in my toes. It could have been worse, I thought I would be wearing flippers to work this morning. Once they'd stopped laughing her main concern was that I wouldn't be claiming any compensation from her insurance as she didn't want to lose her no claims bonus before she's even taken her test.

Still, as no examiner is likely to be stupid enough to stand behind an examninee (is that a word?) it's not a situation she's likely to encounter in her test, so hopefully she'll pass first time and soon she can drive her old Dad down the pub and buy him a pint by way of an apology. Except she won't be able to do the latter as she's not 18 till next summer - maybe time doesn't fly fast enough after all.

Thursday, 10 September 2009

WurzelTip #2

Last Sunday I dropped my mobile in a cup of tea. Don't ask how, I've no idea, I just watched as it jumped out of my hand, arced through the air in slow motion and landed dead centre with an almighty splash in a full cup of tea . Needless to say, one dead Nokia.

Hours of blasting it with a hair dryer finally resulted in it switching back on but no signal. Next day I stuffed it into my air conditioner vent for the day, giving it a constant blast of dry air. Still no signal and the phone was now behaving rather strangely.

Then a couple of people suggested sealing it in an airtight bag full of rice, rice being a gerat moisture absorber. I tried this, placing it on a radiator for good measure to add warmth and was surprised at quite how much condensation started to appear on the inside of the bag 2 days on from my first attempts at drying it out. The condensation vanished, obviously absorbed into the ice as predicted. By the end of the day I had a fully functioning phone again.

Derren Brown and The Lottey Numbers

Last night was one of those intriguing pieces of television that you can't quite believe you saw, then spend hours thinking about it. Derren Brown, he of the great mind control act/tricks/illusions, call it what you will, was going to predict the nights Lottery numbers.

He couldn't reveal his prediction before they were drawn as, he claimed, the BBC have sole rights to revealing the numbers first. This immediately made me realise it was definitely some kind of trick, as many magazines carry fortune telling type predictions of the weeks numbers all the time. Instead he had a stand with six ping-pong sized balls in shot at all time, which, once the numbers had been announced, he turned to reveal that each ball was marked with a number. You can watch the entire programme here . Im sure I won't be spoiling the surprise by telling you he gets 6 out of 6 correct.

I love this type of trick/illusion/whatever, and I find Derren Brown fascinating to watch. I know it's not magic, nor (unlike a lot of his regular act) is it any kind of suggestion/mind control. It definitely wasn't a delayed transmission of the lottery, I had that on silmultaneously on the PC. So how was it done?

He has promised to show us how on Friday. Afer lots of theories which disprove themselves once I give them more thought I can only come up with one logical conclusion - a camera trick. The set up reminded me of this video of the team from the Real Hustle taking a boy into the Tardis which of course was much bigger inside than out. That was done by switching the right hand edge of the "from above" shot with a still photo after they had been seen to walk around it, hiding the back of the tardis opening up to allow them to enter a large set, unseen from the above. Last night the stand on the left containing the balls could similarly have been switched to a still shot after DB had walked around it, and switched back to the live shot just before he walks back to it, enabling the correct balls to be quickly placed on the stand unseen by the viewer as they were announced. The lack of an audience would add weight to this idea as do a couple of momentary apparent shot freezes at the relevant times.

I can't wait to see the reveal on Friday. If I've guessed it right I'll feel a bit smug but also a bit disappointed that such a great act needs to resort to camera trickery.

Monday, 7 September 2009

Pasing On The Reins - A Radio Legacy

As a teenager I got up in the morning, ate breakfast and, reluctantly, left for school to the sound of Terry Wogan on the radio. Even as a teenager I loved his self effacing humour, his sarcasm and his dry, subtle wit.

30 years on I have spent the last few years waking up with him again - not quite true, the radio actually comes on during Sarah Kennedy's show but she is so boring it's Wogan that actually wakes me. Whilst on tv he appears slightly more rounded (don't we all) and more reliant on the toupee than I remember (allegedly), on the radio he doesn't seem to have changed one bit.

For me (and probably many others of my generation) he is more than an entertainer, he is an institution, and would be the first on my list of "if you could invite x number of famous people to dinner .... ". He broadcasts to in excess of 8.5 million listeners yet has that unique style that gives the impresssion that he is in the same room chatting with you. The audience interaction with his shows are possibly second to none, and certainly form an integral part of it's charm.

So it was with regret that I heard today that he is to stand down from the show from next year. There are some things in life that are hard to imagine not being there, and Terry in the morning is one of them. Having said that, it is definitely better to bow out at the top than to carry on untill you become a pale shadow of your former self.

He is to be replaced by Chris Evans. On tv years ago in shows like TFI Friday and The Big Breakfast Chris was, to put it bluntly, a total knob. But he has changed over the years and I have been a great fan of his Drivetime radio show for a couple of years now, possibly the most entertaining shows on radio. It's not clear at present if the whle team that help make up his present show will transfer to the breakfast slot or whether he will be hosting a totally new style show. I feel that Wogans legacy will be passed on into good and capable hands, my only reservation is whether I can handle such a lively bubbly personality so early in the morning.

When the NHS Works it Works Well

On Saturday evening my daughter Li'l Wurzel came home claiming that her foot was too painful to walk properly. New school shoes had rubbed her heel, but as her sister pointed out, it hadn't stopped her walking around the shops, and Dad being Dad decided that she was just trying yet another excuse for me to do her paper round for her.

By Sunday morning even I was admitting that yes, it did look more than a little swollen and very hot and red. We had a birthday party to go to so we stayed for an hour before making our excuses and left, heading for the local NHS Walk-In Centre. Within 20 minutes she'd been seen, diagnosed with an infected blister that was still spreading up her leg and would get worse before it got better, wound dressed, advice given, course of anti-biotics dispensed, and on our way home. All done in a caring and friendly manner. A total contrast to tales of long waiting lists and people left unattended for hours.

Of course we could have just been lucky with the timing, it could yet be that they got it wrong and her leg falls off, but yesterdays experience was the NHS at it's best.

(If only they had a mobile phone department, maybe they'd be able to get my Nokia up and running again after it decided to dive into a cup if tea later the same afternoon.)

Sunday, 30 August 2009

Gone West

Our place near St Ives is not booked for the bank holiday so we made a late decision to spend a couple of days in Cornwall . Drove down after work yesterday and woke this morning to the seemingly now traditional grey sky and drizzle . No worries , a cider farm and the Newlyn Fish Festival sound like fun alternatives to the beach . (posted from my mobile just to see if it works )

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Picnic In The Park

PC time a bit restricted this week so a bit late with the blogging.

Once a year around this time of year we have a picnic at the local country park. Nothing formal, just a general invite to friends and family to be there at a certain time on a certain day. This Sunday was this years "event".

There was a bit of coming and going throughout the afternoon but in all close to 50 turned up. Someone up there was looking after us, the weather was perfect.

With picnic eaten and beers drunk it was time (for some anyway) for football, cricket, tennis, rounders and frisbee. All who took part in the (non competitive and to be honest not exactly strenuous) activities had great fun, but to a man, and woman, seemed to be suffering from aches and pains in various places the next day, not least myself. Perhaps my previous post regarding the need to exercise a bit more really was a timely reminder that a 47 year old body really can't carry on pretending to be 27 any more.

I really envy those every day people that manage to take part in events like the London Marathon. If I start training now maybe I'll be able to take part in next years game of rounders and actually score a run without needing to stop for a rest at third base.

Saturday, 22 August 2009

Exercise Is Good For You

The old middle-aged spread is starting to take a hold so I thought it's about time to partake in some regular exercise. Not too sure what it would do to my blood pressure though.

Tube Top Pilates - Watch more Funny Videos

Friday, 21 August 2009

Pure Vanity

This blog can now be accessed via the much shorter and easier to remember address shown above.
Pure vanity, but at £5.98 for 2 years it's much cheaper than a personalised number plate. Especially as the one below, the best I can find, is available for a cool £8995.

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

I Almost Strayed ........

I've read a lot of comments regarding Wordpress and it's ease of use for blogging so I thought I'd take a look at it.

I opened up an account and found that I could easily export his blog in it's entirety to the new one in one click. Pretty impressive so far. But after dabbling around with it for a while I found some features that were better, whilst some were not so good. Something just didn't seem right.

In the end I decided to stay with the devil I know (some might say it's just that I'm too old to change), and Wurzel's World will be staying right where it is - until something else comes along to spike my curiosity anyway.

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

The Premiership Is Exciting Again

After several seasons of complaining that the football in the Premiership has become predictable and boring, suddenly it's interesting again.

Why? A friend has organised a league based on the Premier Leagues Fantasy Football competition and I've entered a team. Suddenly I actually care that Wigan have kept a clean sheet at Aston Villa (4 unexpected points for me courtesy of Titus Bramble), and find it funny that Everton actually managed a last minute consolation goal against the Gunners, losing Mrs Wurzel valuable points as she has the Arsenal goalkeeper. I might even consider sending Nemanja Vidic a Get Well Soon card if it helps to get him over his injury and back on the pitch sooner.

A league between around 20 friends has suddenly taken on a competitive edge, and Match of the Day is going to be essential viewing in our household again this season.

Monday, 17 August 2009

A Night At The BBC

On Sunday we travelled up to London to the home of the good old BBC. I'd registered on their website for audience tickets to watch shows being recorded and had been allocated 4 for the recording of the 5th episode in a new situation comedy, Miranda, staring Miranda Hart.

We had a great evening. The show itself had us all in stitches,although I suspect that this was more to do with watching it live, with accompanying mistakes and ad libs. I suspect the finished article won't seem quite so funny - but then not many sit-coms do in their first series.

It was fascinating watching how the show is put together. It's obvious that actors have to rehearse their lines , but only when you watch a recording does it become apparent quite how many are involved behind the scenes, and how much they must have rehearsed to ensure that everyone is in the right place at the right time doing the right thing. This doesn't apply just to those making the programme but even the radio controlled team ensuring the audience don't end up anwhere they shouldn't. It also came as a shock how small an area the sets take up - what you see on screen is pretty much all there is, not an inch of space is wasted.

There are many gaps in recordings as are things are moved around and scenes are reviewed and reshot. The whole evening is "held together" by warm-up man - sorry, Audience Liaison - Ray Peacock. He had the unenviable task of acting as an ad-libbing, audience-involving, stand-up comedian with the added hassle of being told to stop immediately, even if mid-joke, when the others were ready to shoot again. He coped admirably and I have a feeling we'll be seeing more of this guy in front of the cameras sooner rather than later.

And a tip if you ever get the chance to attend a recording, get there early! Like scheduled airlines they give out more tickets than there are seats and it's first come first served.

Thursday, 9 July 2009

Saint Markus of Switzerland

Well, it's finally over.

After what seems to have become an annual summer ritual discussing who would be taking over a Southampton FC,(of course no-one ever did) this year it became a necessity. Forced into administration, without a buyer the club was in danger of disappearing completely.

As is always the case with Saints the sorry tale took many twists and turns before reaching it's conclusion.And what a conclusion.

Step forward Markus Liebherr. A name that, until the day before it all happened, was unknown to virtually all Saints fans. Whilst other interested - or maybe not really interested - parties ensured themselves plenty of press coverage the silent secretive Swiss remained quietly in the background before coming up with the goods.

Our new owner is a member of the Liebherr family who have built up a huge fortune with their engineering business - which includes supplying 2 recently installed massive cranes at Southampton Docks. Markus withdrew from the family business several years ago to work on new projects but is still worth a reported £2.5 billion in his own right. Yes that's billion, with a B. He has no intention of us doing a "Chelski", it would appear that his intentions are to take things one step at a time and methodically work our way back to where we belong, spending when necessary but not throwing money around needlessly. Sounds good to me.

How things can change. After suffering the torment of Rupert Lowe, relegation, administration, another relegation, points deductions and the serious possibility of disappearing we suddenly find ourselves in the old Third Division with minus 10 points and the 4th richest owner in English football.

I'll just repeat that. The 4th richest owner in English football.

Money doesn't of course automatically buy success - ask QPR. And I've always said I would never want a rich "sugar-daddy" taking over my club, it just wouldn't be us

But I was talking bollocks.

It sure as hell feels great.

Saturday, 4 July 2009

Liberty Returns

It's good to hear that the Statue of Liberty is to re-open to the public. It has remained closed since the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centre on 11th September 2001, presumably because the Americans saw it as an iconic target for further attacks.

It's also good to hear that once it is re-opened visitor numbers will be restricted. I "done" the Statue in 1988, and it has to be the biggest disappointment of any tourist attraction I have ever visited anywhere, anytime. As the video below mentions visitors used to (as did I) queue for a couple of hours to get to the top. This was split approximately 50/50, an hour to get in and an hour shuffling very slowly one step at a time up a very tight 354 step spiral stairway. Once I eventually found myself at the top I was behind a small row of dirty windows that form the base of the crown. It would have offered amazing views of downtown Manhattan and the surrounding area if a) the windows had be cleaner ; and b) the pressure of hundreds of others following me up one step at a time left no choice but to have the briefest of glances before you heading back down a similar spiral stairway. By reducing the numbers to sensible levels visitors will have a proper chance to take in the view, as does the reporter in the video. More interesting than the external view was the fact that during the slow tortuous journey up and down you could - and still can - see the entire structure from the inside. A spectacular lady from outside but a structural-engineering wonder from within.

Hopefully I'll get a chance to pay another visit to New York one day. Whether I bother re-visiting the statue I'm not sure . The nearby Statten Island ferry offers far more spectacular views for much less cost and in far less time, probably the best ferry ride in the world.

Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Going, going ......

I keep intending to write an update on the ongoing saga of the takeover/buyout/rescue of Southampton Football Club. But with so many twists and turns a) things keep changing before I get the chance and b) if I did even fans of Dan Brown's novels would describe it as too far-fetched.

Suffice to say that it would appear that apart from our relegation, the rest of my predictions are now looking horribly wrong. Today the two main interested parties pulled out , one putting all the blame on the Football League's intransigence but in reality it looks unlikely that either ever had the necessary backing. Our only hope now is between a Swiss consortium that have been around for a while but managed to keep themselves virtually secret (possibly a good thing, after all the self promoting time wasters have come to no good), and a newly reported "foreign consortium". It would seem that if either are really interested the they'll have to move fast, as it appears that Friday is make or break day for the club. If, with management contracts ending today, and our unpaid players seemingly leaving by the hour , there is even a club left to save.

I'm hoping the Swiss come up with the goods - their very nationality gives an air of professionalism and efficiency - but if not even my usually optimistic self is fearing the weekend papers discussing English football's biggest financial casualty in history.

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Twenty 20 Over & Out

So England bid farewell to the Twenty20 World Cup. To be fair they'd got as far as they deserved to. The selectors still seem unable to grasp that this is virtually a different sport to even 50 over cricket, let alone 5 day tests.

How ironic that it was the english weather that helped contribute to our eventual defeat.

There's one thing I don't understand. The infamous Duckworth/Lewis method takes a lot of criticism but I've yet to see a better method of deciding weather affected games. But why was it even necessary yesterday? England had completed their innings and the game was being played under floodlights. So why couldn't it have continued till it's natural 20 over conclusion? Under lights is under lights even if it's 3 in the morning.

The competition will continue without us, with the cavalier play and (over-) enthusiastic atmospheric crowds its unlikely to diminish in excitement and entertainment .

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

There's no "I" in "team"

Some pictures simply don't require a caption. (but then google wouldn't find it)

Cristiano Ronaldo , MUFC, Man Utd, football, funny,

Friday, 5 June 2009

So Did You Vote ?

I voted last night. After hearing all the predictions of low turn out I was surprised that the ballot box (one of 3 at my station) was so full that a ruler was needed to poke the slips right through the slot. Yet the official turnout was still only 38.29% against a previous turnout of over 64%.

I really think the time has come that voting became compulsory. What message is being sent by the 60%+ in my neighbourhood that didn't vote. Apathy? Lack of understanding? Feeling no-one represents their views? Simply too busy? Big Brother was starting? No doubt the Labour Party who still seem to be living in Cloud Cuckoo Land will claim it is simply a temporary protest and that their voters will be back when it matters for a General Election. Maybe they'd be right, I doubt it, but whatever our views we can only speculate.

We can read opinion polls untill we are blue in both the face and , hopefully, the government. But the only poll that counts is the one at the ballot box. And the only way that it can be assured that a country is being run according to the wishes of the majority of its populus - and before anyone says it, I know our first past the post system doesn't necessarily mean the majority support the winners - is to ensure that they all vote. Everybody would of course have the right to vote for "none of the above" and/or spoil their paper. Now if 60%+ of the population actually did that, then that would be sending a very strong message to all the parties that they are not listening to the man in the street.

I know that one of the many stay-aways was my 19 year old step daughter who doesn't vote because, as she puts it, "What's it got to do with me". I fear that politicians of all parties seem so alien to vast sections of society that we could have whole generations growing up with the same attitude. In years to come we could end up with our government being elected by as few as 5% or so of the population.

How it could be assured that everybody votes is a practical issue that I have no answer to at the moment but I am sure it is a problem that could be overcome if the will was really there amongst all parties.

Thursday, 4 June 2009

Missing - An Appeal

Missing, originally uploaded by tezzer57.

Spotted amongst a fellow Flickr members photos. I hope they find him

Saturday, 30 May 2009

Woolston, and similar smaller shopping areas

An interesting post from a fellow blogger

The complete works of TGR Worzel: What killed Woolston and how I would fix it...

regarding Woolston, an area in which I have a particular interest, and similarly sized shopping areas. There's an interesting discussion also growing in the comments section, views of others would also be welcomed.

Thursday, 28 May 2009

The Emperor's New Clothes

We had a lovely 2 day break down in Cornwall last weekend. Monday was not quite beach weather, so we decided to pay a visit to the Tate St Ives art gallery. I came out feeling that we had been totally ripped off by a collection of the most pretentious load of rubbish I have ever paid to see (and remember, I am a Southampton fan ).

Here is my honest, open minded, review

A beautiful, impressive building that cleverly blends in with it’s surroundings. Ok, that’s the good bit over with.It is split into several sections with separate exhibitions in each room. When we visited these were –in no particular order - as follows, along with my own reviews.

Alfred Wallis: I’ve heard of this guy before. A famous St Ives painter, he recorded images of ships out at sea, and other local scenes, as he saw them in his head, on random scraps of card. Sorry, but the world is not 2 dimensional; boats do not travel vertically up the sea. These were no better quality than you would expect to find in an infant school, with no unique feature or style to set them apart from work by children of that age. One picture I thought summed up the work. It’s title alongside it was “St Michaels Mount (or Gibraltar?)”, note the question mark. I have been to both, this was definitely neither.

Bojan Sarcevic: A room divided by a few sheets of clear thick perspex that you had to take care not to bump into in the dull light, with a projector playing a flickering cine film of various bits of “sculpture”. I think we endured this one for the length of time it took to cross the room and get out the other end.

Lawrence Weiner: An empty room with 10 pieces of text painted onto the wall. These had the appearance of large car number plates, at an angle of 45 degrees, with three word phrases such as “cobblers eat cheese” (I doubt that was really one of them, but they were all that forgettable) spelt out on blue backgrounds. Attention span in here was as long as it took to read ten three word meaningless phrases.

Lucie Rie: Some pots.

Barbara Hepworth: Sculptures that were at least pleasing on the eye. Basically random shapes nicely proportioned in a variety of textures. At least they had titles like “oval form”, not claiming to be something they weren’t. Ticket also included entry to the Barbara Hepworth Sculpture Garden and Museum, 5 minutes walk away where more of her work set in a garden actually seemed worth looking at.

Carol Bove: What seemed to me to be random items. What is artistic about an approximately 4” cube of what appeared to be coal placed on a plinth with a few bits of dust and black crumbs around it? (not sure if the dust and crumbs were intentional or had simply dropped off). My favourite piece here, and something I wouldn’t mind having in a living room if I had one big enough was a large piece of driftwood about 7ft long displayed vertically . She hadn’t made this, simply picked it up and decided it looked good. Is that art, or nature? Or simply being in the right place at the right time?


Katy Moran: Quite frankly – a mess. A room full of "pictures"(?) consisting of scribble, some with the artistic touch of a few bits of scrap paper stuck on them. Meaningless rubbish given meaningless titles- what is the point?

I am not against art – I know what Ilike and am also open minded enough to appreciate things that don’t particularly appeal to me when I can understand what the artist is trying to create or represent. I have been to the Saatchi gallery in London and stood in awe at some of the things I saw there. I also appreciate that not everyone likes the same thing, and some people will dislike things I like and vice versa.But my overwhelming impression of the whole experience here was "Why?"

I think the people in charge at St Ives are relying on the Emperor New Clothes Syndrome, if we claim to be an authority on the subject and tell the masses it is good, then they will believe it is good. Sorry, not me, as I commented to a friendly member of staff “I don’t get it, it’s just a mess”. She did try to explain the thinking behind some of the “work” but I noticed that she didn’t try to contradict my original statement

Tellingly, an hour later we were wandering around one of St Ives numerous retail galleries admiring some (I guess they would be called ) modern landscapes. “Now that’s art, not like that other rubbish” commented my wife. The guy running the place looked up with a knowing grin and said “You’ve been to the Tate haven’t you, we here that sort of comment a lot”.

Saturday, 23 May 2009

Go West

Just about to head down to our place in Cornwall for a quick 48 hour flying visit. Weather forecast is looking good so looking forward to some sun, sea, sand and a few alliteration spoiling pints of Doom Bar.

It's what Bank Holidays are made for.

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Wurzel 1- Doctor's Evil Receptionist 0

What is it about Doctor's receptionists that their sole duty seems to be to prevent you from actually seeing your doctor?

Yesterday, Tuesday, I phoned to make an appointment only to be told "We're fully booked you'll have to phone back tomorrow at 8.15". Not entirely unexpected, that seems to be par for the course. It's not urgent, just something I need to discuss so I was quite happy to try again.

So this morning , Wednesday, I try again, at 8.25a.m. I actually get through on my 3rd attempt, which was promising.

Me: "Hello can I make an appointment to see the doctor please, as late in the afternoon as he can make it"
Doctor's Evil Receptionist: " Sorry he's fully booked, you'll have to ring back tomorrow morning"
Me: "I just have"
DER: "Sorry?"
Me: "That's what you told me yesterday, now it's tomorrow so I've just rung back"
DER: "So have lots of others, he's fully booked today you'll have to try again tomorrow, we can only make appointments on the day"
(It's still onl 8.27, it appears my doctor sells out faster than a Michael Jackson farewell concert.)
Me: " What is it with this stupid system? "
DER: "Is it urgent? I can arrange for him to come and see you"
Me: "No it's not urgent I just need to discuss something with the doctor. I work six days a week, surely it's not too hard to make an appointment at a time that suits both me and the doctor and write it in the diary. I don't care if it's tomorrow, the next day, or next week".
DER: " I'm afraid we can only make appointments on the day"
Me: remembering the sales mantra of whoever breaks the silence loses, stays firmly silent.
DER: " I can do you 5pm Friday"
Me: "Anything later?"
DER: "5.10?"
Me: "Fine, thanks I'll be there"

Why oh why is it so bleeding difficult?

Parliament & Primary Schools - The Parallel

Could Gordon Brown be more out of touch with public opinion if he tried?

The MPs expenses fiasco, understandably, has been the big topic of conversation in workplaces, pubs, and post office queues the length and breadth of the land. The impression I'm getting from conversations (held and overheard) is that it's not so much the money, but the fact that these people - the people in charge of our country - can not be trusted. So what does he propose? Make them understand the rules, stick to the rules, and accept draconian punishment if they don't ? No. He proposes in "independent body" to oversee the whole issue of MP's expenses. In other words, confirming that they can not be trusted to deal with it properly and honestly themselves, so someone else has to be appointed to watch over them.

Mrs Wurzel works in a primary school which of course has to toe Mr Brown's Government's guidelines. What happens there if a child repeatedly misbehaves and can not be trusted to follow the rules? Is the child punished? No. He or she receives "0ne on one" tuition, or in other words someone independent of the class teacher is appointed to watch over them.

Spot the parallel here?

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Dear UK Press and Media ....

...... so the publicity grabbing, attention seeking, couple of media whores that are Katie Price and Peter Andre are splitting up.

A statement from them reads that they "have both requested that the media respect their families' privacy at this difficult time".

Please, please, please, I beg of you, not for their sakes but for ours, grant them their wish.

Monday, 11 May 2009

The Return of Jiminy

  • Nowadays the old knees aren't what they were and I restrict my cricketing appearances to few and far between. But in the past I played for and ran a local league side . Surprisingly we won far more than we lost, I say surprisingly because our main raisons d'etre were
  • a) to enjoy ourselves,
  • b)to give every one a chance to do something regardless of ability,
  • c) to talk about it in the pub afterwards and
  • d) try and win.
After several club name changes we finally settled on one suggested by my brother which conjured up the spirit of the team - Jiminy Cricket Club. We were initially worried that the Disney copyright lawyers might not like it but after taking suitable advice - amazing how much "expert opinion" eleven players can come up with over a pint or two - it was decided this was definitely a Cricket Club called "Jiminy" and not a "Jiminy Cricket" Club and if they objected they could go wish upon a star.

Unfortunately after several seasons the club eventually died a death due to dwindling numbers attending the pub after matches. But out of the blue the name is to be revived. Following a conversation on twitter ( concerning attempts to Save Benno from his sacking as skipper of his village 2nd XI ) another tweeter, Dan Slee was so enamoured by the name that a "New Jiminy Cricket Club" has been formed in the Walsall area and hope to play their first fixture soon . They have kindly appointed me Honorary (regrettably I think that bit means I don't get paid) Fielding Coach, which I humbly and gratefully accept (the fact I know not who they are or where to find them is just a minor inconvenience to overcome).

It is in this capacity that I offer the following recollections from Jiminy's previous incarnation as two examples of Dos and Don'ts when fielding. Both took place in Hoglands Park, which for those that don't know Southampton is a large park right in the city centre, split into quarters by 2 much used diagonal paths, with cricket pitches taking up 3 of the 4 quarters. With benches lining the paths and much pedestrian "through traffic" matches played here tended to gain a bigger audience than elswhere.

So, especially for my new protogees, 2 Dos and Don'ts of Fielding

John (who mus have been in his late 50s at the time) was fielding at Long On (to non cricketers that's almost directly behind the bowler right back as far as you can be on the boundary). The batsman smashed a ball straight back high over the bowler's head towards John. With a cry of "catch it!" all heads turned towards John, only to see him chatting to a passer by who was sat on one of the aforementioned benches. The other fielders stood shoulders slumped, all assuming that this was going for six. But we were forgetting John's 40 odd years of experience. He calmly put his roll-up that he was smoking behind his left ear, carefully placed the can of beer he was drinking from onto the bench, took two paces forward, caught the guy out, hurled the ball back into the middle and carried on his conversation with the spectator as if nothing had happened.To this day, still the coolest thing I have witnessed, anytime, anywhere.

This one also took place at Hoglands Park, coincidently again with the fielder (this time Jarvo) fielding at Long On. Similarly to the previous example the batsman had smashed the ball straight back over the bowlers head. Now to be fair to Jarvo, positioned a couple of yards inside the boundary by the sight screen, it was one of those horrible ones to judge. Coming straight at him, the ball held up in the wind slightly and was one of those that leaves you in two minds, either to take a few strides forward and attempt a risky catch or take a few strides back and ensure you field the ball on the bounce thus preventing a certain boundary. Amazingly Jarvo, in a moment of sheer panic, found himself not in two minds, but three and opted for the third. With the ball dropping out of the sky towards him having been hit from 50-60 yards away Jarvo simply stood his ground and volleyed the ball back from whence it came. Again, to be fair to Jarvo, it was a damned good attempt, and actually was in with a decent chance of a surprise run out had the other ten fielders, two batsmen and two umpires not all simultaneously collapsed to the ground in laughter. Jarvo spent the rest of the game claiming it was exactly what he intended to do, whilst trying not to put any weight on his right foot. A quick after-match visit to A&E revealed two bruises, one to his foot and one to his ego. To this day I find myself laughing out loud and the thought of it, and feel the need to remind Jarvo of it every time we meet.

So remember New Jiminys, a bit more of John and a bit less of Jarvo, here endeth your first coaching session of the season.

Thursday, 7 May 2009

State-ing the Bleeding Obvious (see what I did there?)

My nice shiny spanking new much anticipated government issue swine flu information booklet has finally arrived on my doorstep.A quick flick through and my only reaction is "Why?".

I wonder how much this has cost our bankrupt country to produce and distribute? 12 pages of colour print on glossy paper containing very little except plain and simple common sense.

What next? Any day now I am expecting a Gordon Brown video on YouTube showin us all how to wipe our own arses properly

Friday, 3 April 2009

Southampton Football Club

I'm going to be lazy now and not even start to describe the goings on - and the goings - at Southampton Football Club and it's parent company this week. A quick Google News search for any or all of Southampton, administration, SLH, Rupert Lowe will tell you more than you need to know.

Just for the record, so I can refer back to it when I'm proved right, (and delete it if I'm wrong) this is how I see things panning out.

The Football League will do their usual fudge job and rule that provided someone buys the FC before end of season then no points deduction.

It's not goig to cost much to buy JUST the football club. Someone WILL buy the FC, my guess is about £3.5million. All they are really getting for that is players contracts and future gate receipts/tv income.

I think the £24m owed on the stadium (owned by SLH not the FC) is a bit of a red herring, it's like a mortgage, it's not all due to be paid now just the annual payment. Norwich Union will reluctantly agree to take ownership of the stadium and take a percentage of future gate receipts till they've got their money back (or sell it to a 3rd party who will do the same). It's not like repossessing house that they can re-sell, it's useless to them or anyone else unless SFC are using it. Similar deal with Staplewood (training ground)

SLH will cease to exist and Mr Lowe will never be heard of again in football circles.

We'll still get relegated this season even without points penalty

With a clean slate next season new owners will have learned from past mistakes. A much smaller squad will do a Leicester next season and storm Division 3 on average gates of 25,000.

Within 5 years the money coming into football will be much lower. We'll have a club back on it's feet and improving as others (bigger clubs) start suffering what we've already been through. We'll be in a position to buy back our own stadium whilst others are losing theirs and be totally self reliant again.

Within 5 years there will be only ONE team in Hampshire, Portsmouth's structure means they have far less chance of getting out of their mess than we have. (Ok I forgot Eastleigh).

Champions League Winners 2018.

OK The last bit was a joke.

Why ....

........ is it that when you have a blood test you don't even feel the needle, but pulling the plaster off an hour later brings tears to your eyes? :-(

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Monday, 30 March 2009

The New England Shirt

Loving the new England shirt. The best one EVER. Well done Umbro


My lovely blonde wife gets very upset at the stereo-typical image that all cute blondes are, how shall I put it, a little bit lacking in the intelligence department.

On her behalf I am only too pleased to put the record straight.

Sunday, 29 March 2009

Hamble Common

Hamble Common, originally uploaded by Wurzel.
British Summer Time has officially started so a brisk walk was called for this afternoon.

A lot of work has been done recently opening up Hamble Common to make it more accessible to walkers, revealing beautiful scenery like this.

It's great living in an area with places like this virtually on the doorstep

More about Hamble Common HERE

Saturday, 28 March 2009

A New Political Hero

Daniel Hannan

Admittedly, he doesn't offer up any alternative policies but anyone who can stand up and say this to Gormless Brown's face gets top marks in my books.

I'm surprised my good friend Snopper hasn't commented on this yet.

Friday, 27 March 2009

For Mrs Wurzel

In the old days wives used to complain that their husbands didn't speak to them enough.

In this technological age Mrs Wurzel keeps complaining I am not updating my blog enough.

So just for you, here's my favourite video for today xxx

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Our Government and The Economy

Small Fortune, originally uploaded by Wurzel.

The picture sums up the apparent current fiscal policy - try it and hope for the best.

I heard this on the radio this morning.

The privately owned banks run into financial trouble.
Government response?
To transfer part of them to public ownership.

The publicly owned Royal Mail runs into financial trouble.
Government response?
To transfer part of it to private ownership.

Don't worry, they know what they're doing....... honest

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

New Zealand Copyright Protest

Join The New Zealand Internet BlackOut to protest against a law due on February 28th that calls for internet disconnection based on accusations of copyright infringement without a trial and without any evidence held up to court scrutiny.

"Sections 92A and C of the amended Copyright Act establish a guilt upon accusation principle that can see anyone accused of "copyright infringement" getting his or her Internet connection severed"

Black out your Facebook avatar, Your Myspace pages, your Twitter account, and websites to protest against the insane new law that may come into effect on February 28.

Tuesday, 3 February 2009


Snow, originally uploaded by Wurzel.

The view from my front garden yesterday. Today the snow was much deeper but unfortunately no time to take photos. I drove to work this morning, had I walked I'd have probably taken hundreds of photos

Friday, 30 January 2009

The Power of the Search Engine

Strange family !, originally uploaded by Wurzel.

I like to use Flickr for displaying some of my photographs. Most have, I like to think anyway, a degree of artistic merit or a least interesting subject matter. So it's a bit disappointing to find that this picture has had over 5 times as many views as the next best one.

Why? It's nothing more than a family shot from a day out at Wookey Hole.

But foolishly I entitled in "Strange Family". AZnd beng able to see where ti's hits come from I now realise that it has slowly moved it's way up the Yahoo search engine rankings so that if you type in the word "strange" (as I'm sure numerous bored surfers do from time to time) into theier image search it appears in the top line of their listings. Thanks to that it's currently averaging a couple of dozen hit a day.

I'll blame it on our "dumbing down" culture.

Monday, 26 January 2009

West Pier, Brighton

West Pier, Brighton, originally uploaded by Wurzel.

What is left of Brighton's West Pier on a very cold wet and windy Sunday afternoon. The picture makes the day look a lot brighter than it was, I like the waves and the isolation of the per in this shot

Palace Pier, Brighton

Palace Pier, Brighton, originally uploaded by Wurzel.

Brighton's Palace Pier (despite the sign claiming otherwise) on a very cold we and windy Sunday afternoon.

Sunday, 18 January 2009

Northington Grange

Northington Grange, originally uploaded by Wurzel.
Whilst out and about today we visited Northington Grange, near Alresford, Hampshire. This is an amazing place, tucked away down a country lane, blink and you'd miss the entrance. An imposing architectural wonder, stood totally alone and unattended Any attempts to see through any windows not blacked out reveals a derelict interior. Or so it seems. Because in the summer it comes alive ! The video below reveals the secret.

Wednesday, 14 January 2009


Fruity, originally uploaded by Wurzel.

A delicious fruit salad made for us to day by my youngest daughter Li'l Wurzel.
I've definitely had my 5-a-day today

Fresh Start For The New Year

Time, laziness and lack of inspiration has resulted in this blog being severely neglected over the last few months. So, to make a fresh start for the new year I've decided that from now on I'll be posting far more photos and a lot less of the written stuff. And bearing in mind a picture is worth a thousand words, you. dear readers, will be getting far better value for money.

ps: If any cared, Colin has gone to cactus heaven.