some nice thinking time

25 11 2007

I went to the beach at Hayling today, I normally do when I have things to think about, so I did, the weather was excellent and the sea calm and flat, and it was peaceful as can be. 

 All in all it was quite pleasant.

8.36. He should be sacked by now.

22 11 2007

OK, lets forget the result.  It was a shambles.  An emergency meeting has been scheduled by the FA for 8.30am.  My guess is that Maclaren will be out.  I can’t be bothered to be rude, its all been said before and I might start to go off on one.

Still good riddence, and can we have Mourinho please!  No you can’t have Harry, we’ve got Birmingham to beat at the weekend.


The business of England

20 11 2007

I am by no means a supporter of Steve Maclaren, I have always thought that he was the wrong man for the England job, but for some reason I have been thinking about this from a purely business point of view.

When they sacked Sven, surely that should have heralded a complete change in the system.  In a business, when there is an underperforming department and the bosses decide to sack whoever is in charge, you don’t promote the guy who works underneath.  Businesses would fail.

Unfortunatley  England have been saved by Israel.  I say unfortunate, it means that we are going to be stuck with Maclaren for the next 2 years.

Brits Abroad

17 11 2007

Im all in favour of freedom of movement, I think that people should be able to go where they like, but sometimes I wish that they just wouldn’t.  British people have a bad reputation when abroad and I can see why, certain sections of the public are so rude condecending and culturally unaware that I am surprised that they don’t get kicked out of the places that they visit.

For years I had put off going on a package holiday because I don’t really like them and they tend to get expensive, but for ease that is what me and the Housemate did when we went to Egypt.

Around the pool there were:

The Mahogany Women-In their Mid 40s never left the pool area in a week and were turning slowly darker and darker.  I suspect that in a few days a pool attendant will find their charred remains and half finished Jackie Collins books.

Doris and the Captain- We were unfortunate enough to sit next to this pair at breakfast one morning.  She never stopped moaning, never.  She was rude to the staff, constantly moaned about the hotel and the country and the hassles…..Why go?  I mean why? you aren’t happy abroad so why leave Manchester or wherever you are from.  The Captain was just as rude but he always wore his navy cap and was deaf as a post.

Lobster Couple-  Arrived on the same day that we did, but they hit the pool in the morning while we went out.  By the time we got back they were bright red and stayed that way for the rest of the week.

The Saga Louts-  The Saga holiday tours.  Ok, I have nothing against them really but do you honestly everyday have to turn up to the restaurant in Egyptian headdress.

At the Airport:

Due to a problem with our original plane we had to get a smaller one and this caused all sorts of havoc with the typical Brits abroad.

Leopard woman-  I would say Early 60s with family in tow, she barged through the queue like an icebreaker to push her way to the front and demand that she was seated first.  She had a leopard print top on and matching luggage, and jewellery like Pat Butcher.

Premium seat moaners- It was a smaller plane, you paid extra for a premium seat with more leg room, you are tall, we get it ok.  Stop moaning at the hostesses who are doing a great job in the circumstances.  I am positive that you will get your money back and probably some holiday vouchers too, but this is a 5 hour flight, please stop now….please.  That and the fact that why, if you are so worried about legroom and paying extra for a seat are you only flying Thompson and not with Virgin?  Oh thats right, its because you are cheap.

I know where I am going on holiday next time.  Libya, less tourists and more importantly less Brits.


15 11 2007

Me and The Housemate have just been to Egypt, and bloody hell is it fantastic.  What an amazing country, but more on that later.

Right anyway, long story short, we got stuck in traffic, I mean really bad traffic on the way to the airport and panic was starting to set in.  Last check in was at 9, at 10 past we had just got to the car park, so instead of waiting for the bus we just ran to the terminal and got there as they closed the gate, we were the last people to get there and so had the last 2 seats (I got upgraded, get in, free meal and excess leg room).  The flight was uneventful and it got us there without stress or fuss and I had a nice chat to a mechanic about the fact that although Audis are more reliable than Alfas, they just dont feel the same to drive (sorry digressing I know, but I do love cars).

Anyway we got there and were taken to out hotel, the Pyramisa Isis in Luxor, a 5 (We will split the difference and call it a 3) star hotel where we were met by Khaled who then proceeded to rob me for all of the money that I had, in order to sign up for trips, to the Temples at Luxor and Karnak (A sound and light show here as well), a Hot Air Balloon ride and a visit to Valley of the Kings.

Anyway, first morning we woke at 4 am (Not intentional, there is a mosque with a loudspeaker pointing directly through our balcony window) so we got up and had a spot of breakfast and decided that we would walk into Luxor town and while we were there decided to go to the Temple.  As we were there quite early it was pretty much deserted so armed with our cameras we spent a while wandering around this amazing 3000 year old monument being guided by my Lonely Planet and mainly just staring open mouthed at the sheer complexity, size and colours of the place.  With brightly coloured artwork and giant statues and start of the 2 km long Avenue of Sphinxes, this is really a sight to behold.  After about an 90 minutes we decided that it would be a good idea to head back to the hotel for a swim, which we did, and then we went to Karnak in the evening for the sound and light show.

Karnak is amazing, dont get me wrong, its bigger than Luxor and has more features and it looks beautiful with its blue and green mood lighting, but if you go, take headphone and some atmospheric music (somthing like Sigur Ros may be quite good) because with the overly dramatic acting (One of the parts was played by Liz Taylor apparantly) it sounded like a deleted scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail, and I felt myself drifting off half way through.

The next day we had our guided tour around Karnak and it looks even more impressive in the daylight, thinking how imposing it must have looked in its full glory is mind blowing with its 40m high walls and hypostyle hall with 114 colums in it.  Aman our guide took us around pointing out the interesting features and the history of the place, then we went off on our own.  We actually tagged along behind a german tour group and got to see a statue that you had to pay to see for free.  Then back to Luxor for a guided tour around the temple, and this just doesn’t get any less impressive, infact once you know a bit more about it, some of it starts to make sense.  As turned out to be our usual afternoon activity,  we headed back to the hotel and hit the pool.

Saturday brought brilliantly hot weather again and yet another early start, but this time for a balloon ride with Ahmed the pilot and 12 other people.  Now I never realised that you could actually steer one of these things so that you don’t just have to go where the wind takes you, and we went in completely the opposite direction to all of the other balloons and flew over the west bank with Valley of the Queens and Hatchupsets temple, but most impressive of the lot was the Ramesseum with its massive archeology site and impressive colums, it gave the sheer scale of what the ancients could actually do.  Once we landed we were immediately swamped by kids wanting money from us, but we were warned not to as if we gave to one we would have to give to the whole village.  (A quick note on hassling.  In the Egyptian culture you will be hassled walking along the road, for Taxis, felucca rides, carriages, english newspapers, now ive travelled a bit and so am used to it.  Honestly I didnt think it was as bad as it could have been, but then I am not a woman.  One of the families in the hotel was there with their teenage daughter and she was pretty much scared to go out of the hotel.)

 After this we decided to go to the Luxor museum and take a gander at some mummies and artifacts going back way past BC (a note against this is what the hell were we doing over here during this period, ok we have stone henge, but its not exactly the most impressive piece of pre-christ arcitecture, and in both central and South America and Asia cutures were much more advanced than ours.).  This gave us our first taste of the finary of the burial tombs.

Sunday we headed to Valley of the Kings and went into 3 of the Rameses pharoahs tombs, and bloody hell were these decorated plushly with the ceilings covered with thousands of painted stars and scenes from the book of the dead depicted on every spare inch of wall, but as they have been robbed by unscrupulous heathens there isn’t a great deal else in them.  So anyway, hands up who thought that Tutankhamun was buried in a pyramid?  Well you are wrong, valley of the kings, 2000 years after the pyramids were built.  So there you go, the mummy is there, all of the acoutriments from the tomb are elsewhere, impressively robbed by the British (well actually, Carter tricked the Egyptian government into giving him 3 quarters of what he found).  After that we headed of to Hatchupsets temple to have a mooch about there and on the way back we stopped at the Colussi of Memnon, 2 enormous statutes that were the gateway to the cities of the dead.

During this visit we toured with a couple of ladies from Manchester called Glynis and Elaine.  They were excellent, and made great companions for this trip.  Over our dinner that night we got talking to Rachel and Nadia from Switzerland and we ended up going out into Luxor with them and some Egyptians and drinking into the wee small hours.  We also watched the football but that was a nil nil draw so not much to say there.

Monday was our day of rest and sat by the pool for the whole day nursing hangovers and I finally finished my book which I swapped for the excellent Moby Dick.  We had a lot to look forward to as we had booked a day trip to Cairo for Tuesday. 

We flew early morning and were met by our guide Eman and 3 others, talk about being treated like royalty, thats 2 people each.  The Cairo museum was superb, absolutely 100% brilliant, and Eman made this already fascinating subject come to life, she was so enthusiastic and so passionate about this subject that we didnt notice the fact that we had been in the museum for 4 hours, she is also tiny, about a foot shorter than me.  After this we headed out to Giza and went to the Pyramids and Sphinx, and yes they look like they do in the films so I wont bore you with those details, but I will yet again tell you that Eman went way above and beyond the call of duty by providing us with diagrams of how the pyramids were built and the the dynasties that built them.

On Wednesday we flew home to our cold and dreary nation, during which there was almost a passenger revolt as a couple of people didnt get the premium seats that they wanted due to it being a different type of plane.  It could have been worse, they could have waited for the correct plane and we would have been delayed for 6 hours.

Right enough of this, a special section on Brits abroad will come later but for now toodle pip.

Ninja Warrior: Could this be the only true sport?

6 11 2007

Working from home I get to see all of the crappy daytime TV, and most of it I can’t stand so I watch the film channels instead.  The one programme that I always make time to watch though is Ninja Warrior (or Sasuke to give its Japanese name).  The basic premise of this show is 100 contestants have to try and make it through obstacle courses (4 stages geting progressively harder) in the time limits and without touching the water…well nearly drowning.

This program gives me the full range of emotions, with laughing at peoples failure (harsh but true, its quite amusing to see people fall from the obstacles) to the sheer how the hell do they do that.  The fact is that it looks fun and I really want a go.  I think that I could become a legend on Mount Midoryama, or more than likely go out on the rolling log in the first round.

 Now the main thing that gets me with this program is that the contestents don’t do this for prize money, they do it for the honour of being crowned King or Queen of Ninja Warrior.  They train hard all year and build copies of the obstacles to practice on and personally I feel Premier league footballers could do with taking a leaf from their book, rather than taking 150k a week in wages. 

 There you go, 6pm on challenge TV after Takeshis Castle.  Sit down and switch off your brain.  Watch it, you know you want to!

Self satisfaction

5 11 2007

The conversation went somthing like this.

 Me: “Fancy a quick burn at QE tomorrow?”

Rich: “Yeah alright, what time?”

Me:”About 10ish?”

Rich:”Good plan”


The quick burn at QE means going out on our bikes to Queen Elizabeth country park, and not to put to finer point on it, we are both 27 and bloody unfit.  Plus I am just getting over a chest infection, so I thought this may have killed me, but what the hell.  Turns out the weather was good and off we went.

Having no fitness at the moment is not a good thing and so at the top of the first hill I had to have a bit of a sit down as I could feel the blood draining from my brain to get oxygen to where its needed.  But still I persevered and kept going and afterwards felt surprisingly good.  Its been quite a while since I went out properly and its good to know that my technique is still there, keeping up with the fit people on the single track and losing them on the hills where my lungs were collapsing.  Still im glad that I went as this is the first part of my training to actually run the great south run next year (Can’t believe that I said I would).

 Anyway, Im off to buy some sun tan cream for the holiday and possibly a new pair of shorts.


At large in London

4 11 2007

So anyway, it was Catherines birthday today (Happy Birthday) so I went up to Oxford on on Friday night after work (Why is it that whenever you have a holiday booked you have to work late on your last night?) for a couple of days.  Not a great deal happened on Friday, as we had planned to go to London early on Saturday. 

After much faffing about by Catherine on Saturday that seemed to include 3 or 4 phonecalls to the boyfriend we finally got the train and managed to blag the last 2 seats in pretty much the whole train.  It was full of stag dos and Arsenal fans (awaiting the lunch time kickoff at the Emirates)  and when it stopped at Reading, I am surprised that people weren’t bursting out of the windows.  I swear that there are trains in India that carry less passengers.  Anyway we got to Paddington to find out that there were major closures on the underground so all journeys took much longer and we had to go various different and non direct ways which blows, but we got to South Kensington and mooched around the Natural History museum for a while.  Catherine was looking forward to seeing the elephants, and needless to say I got excited buy the cross section of a 1400 year old Giant Sequioa.  Obviously the museum would have been better if I was 12, but I still think that there are a lot of excellent things in there, the Dinosaur exhibit is great but it was too hot and too busy, so we left the NHM and took the tube to Blackfriars and wandered down the Thames and across the Millenium bridge to the Tate modern.

 Now this quite excited me as part of my ever continuing quest to become an “interesting person” I quite like art galleries and can now tell quite a few artists work from a hundred yards.  The main installation (get me using technical words from the art world) that they have there is a 150 yard long crack in the floor.  To be quite honest I am sure the leaflet that I was given about it would have probably told me somthing about the division of class and society or some other gubbins but to me it just looked like the building was having trunking laid. 

 What I was pleased to see was that there was the original “Whamm” by Roy Lichtenstein and a couple of surrealist paintings by Magritte.  Its definately an interesting place and at some point I will go again.

 After this we headed off to the pub for a Toad in the Hole and a pint in the pub next to the Golden Hind where we were met by May-Z and some more drinking ensued and the talk got a bit more random as I had more to drink.  About 8 we decided that we should leave and headed off to London Bridge, which I swear had the Bakerloo line in it when I last looked at the map, but apparantly it had been moved, which in my drunken state is never a good thing.   Still we eventually got the train and after a few games of Scissors, Paper, Stone we made it back to Oxford.

 Oh yes, there was a girl on the train with a copy of the Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath who I really should have made more of my opportunity to talk to, but I didn’t and I apologise, because you were cute (You never know she may be reading this).