Wednesday, October 31, 2007

ooooo scary!

I just love this image!
Halloween seems to be an excuse for huge commercialisation by supermarkets and the like, so Ruth’s do-it-yourself outfit for Iris comes somewhat as a relief.
If you really want to be scared, maybe you should watch this!
PS: perhaps even more scary is the fact that Moira+I first got together 38 years ago today!
PPS: right, that’s the last of the family photo album pictures for a while (promise!).

Tuesday, October 30, 2007


Some recent photographs of Mikey, Iris and Dan (with apologies that this is becoming a bit of a family photo album!)….
Iris, Mikey, Dan, Iris and Mikey


Moira+I made a quick overnight visit to Leyland to see everyone! Alice+Dave seem to be coping fine – although Mikey seems to be in complete denial that there has been an addition to the family thus far!
Photo: Dan+me by Moira (apologies for no pictures of the proud parents or granny!)

Friday, October 26, 2007

dan buckley

Taking a lead from Mrs Thatcher (and for those who know me: obviously I would never do such a thing!), it’s very nice to be able to announce to the world that “we are now a grandfather” again!!
Alice+Dave now have another baby boy (not sure if he's a future ManU striker or midfielder at this stage):
Dan - born 12.54pm today, weighing 7Ib 1oz!
Everyone well. Moira+I are clearly delighted and hope to make a flying visit on Sunday.
Welcome Dan!


Moira+I don’t go to the cinema very often, but we were really pleased that we went to the Watershed last night to see “Once”. This modern day musical (writer/director John Carney described his intention as wanting to make a “visual album”) is set in Dublin and is a story about busker and his friendship with a young Czech immigrant woman. This gentle, charming, uplifting film is just wonderful (and the music is absolutely lovely - the songs stay with you).
You’ve just got to see (and hear) it!
PS. I've already added it as one of my favourite films!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


I indicated in an earlier blog that I’d had a problem with my camera on the Kielder Challenge and feared that it might be terminal. Well, so it proved. My friendly camera repair shop indicated that the LCD screen needed replacing and the cost was going to be prohibitively expensive (for a 4 year-old camera). I tried to buy a second-hand replacement on e-Bay but, frustratingly, was outbid at the very last second! In the end, I decided to buy a refurbished Canon PowerShot A640 (10 Megapixels and still with a LCD screen) – with a fair more memory than my old G3 (4MP) – for not much more than it would have cost me to repair my broken camera. Big problem is that I can’t afford it and have had to advise Moira that she’s bought it me for Christmas (and birthday)!
Just hope I haven’t made a big mistake!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

four have fun on a golf course (again)

There was a time when every Friday afternoon throughout the year, Steve, Ken, Pete and I used to play golf together - ok, sometimes we could only squeeze in four holes before it got dark! So it was great to have the four of us back on a golf course together again in Oxford this morning (sadly, I’ve only played 3 times in the last 18 months) - with all the banter, laughter, rivalry and missed putts…. and the sun shone beautifully too. Rather happily, the match (Ken+Pete versus Steve+me) ended all square - with Ken holing a five foot putt on the last hole.
As Ken would say (and did!): “it doesn’t get much better than this!”.
Photo: Ken+Pete+Steve+my shadow before our game today.

Monday, October 22, 2007

one world week

This is “One World Week” and I am reminded of the following stark statistics used by many international aid organisations (it’s also one of the daily readings in the excellent “Growing Hope” publication by the Iona Community):

Imagine shrinking the earth’s population to a village of 100 people with all the existing human ratios remaining the same.
The village would have 61 Asians, 12 Europeans, 13 North or South Americans, 13 Africans. One white person from Oceania.
There would be 51 females and 49 males.
70 non-whites, 30 whites.
70 non-Christian and 30 Christians.
50% of the village’s wealth would be in the hands of 6 people – all North American citizens.
80 villagers would live in substandard housing;
70 villagers would be unable to read;
while 50 would suffer from malnutrition.
One villager would have a college education.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

it wasn’t to be….

In the four or so years since Alice+Dave got married, Villa have yet to win against ManU (Dave is a ManU fanatic and, worse than that, has converted his wife to the cause!). Clearly, yesterday was no exception (1-4) - despite Villa taking the lead – and I anticipate that the powers-that-be at Villa will be asking for the marriage to be dissolved any time now…

PS: my Fantasy football team continues to go from bad to worse. Another appalling week and my league position in England has plummeted to 324,365th (from "just" 218,205th at the end of September)!
PPS: oh yes, and in the really important game, the England rugby team fell just short of retaining the World Cup. I only managed to watch the last 20 minutes at the wedding reception hotel (one small TV in a packed small area and I “watched” it from outside the room four rows back from the doorway!). It seemed to be a case of South Africa dominance at the line-outs and perhaps a little too much kicking? The boys “did brilliant” nonetheless! Heroic stuff!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

… and the bride wore white

It’s going to be a long and difficult day.
The England Rugby team has reached the World Cup Final against all the odds and we’re all holding our breath that it doesn’t end in an awful anti-climax (perhaps another 0-36 or worse?!). Great friend Ian thinks we ought to be singing for England (the players’ theme tune: “The Gambler” by Kenny Rogers)!
Moira+I will be attending Mike+Sarah’s wedding reception this evening – which gives little scope for me being able to wear my lucky blue Cotton Traders shirt(!) – so I’m just hoping that a TV will be available!
Someone who definitely will be seeing the game is my lovely mate Steve Eyre. Yesterday, I sent him a text confirming golfing arrangements for next Tuesday; within seconds came the following reply:
“In Paris 4 le rugby. Allez les blancs!”.

Friday, October 19, 2007

climate change

Attended an absolutely fascinating (and packed) meeting last night in Bristol entitled “Climate Change: A Global Injustice” with excellent, challenging, thought-provoking speakers George Monbiot (“radical thinker”), Kate Raworth (Senior Researcher at Oxfam) and someone from the World Development Movement (can’t remember his name!). It’s given me lots of food for thought.
I started reading the preface to Monbiot’s book “Heat” in bed last night. It refers to Tony Blair’s contention that Climate Change is “the single most important issue that we face as a global community”. Monbiot acknowledges that when the Government’s commissioned Stern Report was first published last year (assessing the economic implications of climate change), he initially welcomed it. It was only on reflection that he came to realise that Sir Nicholas Stern's recommendations actually “embrace a greenhouse gas target with a reasonable chance of causing mass starvation”.
The meeting was far from being a list of depressing statistics and I came away feeling strangely uplifted and encouraged.
I suspect that you’ll be hearing more from me on the subject over the coming months – and I think my MP will be too!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

anniversary blog

Somewhat amazingly (for me at least!), this is my blog's first birthday.
Happy birthday blog!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


Radiohead’s new album “In Rainbows” is brilliant. Just brilliant.
The band has chosen to release its seventh studio album as a digital download through the Radiohead website at a price determined by each consumer willing to part with an email address. Within two days of its release, reports say that more than 1.2 million copies had been downloaded.
You’ve got to have it!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

blue is the colour

Apologies. I now seem to be focussing on writing a Rugby Blog these days!
Crucial moment of the match was nothing to do with Joe Worsley’s great tackle or Jonny’s drop goal. It happened in about the 55th minute when I realised that I wasn’t wearing the “lucky blue Cotton Traders” shirt (even against “Les Blues”!). Once this error had been rectified, victory was never in doubt (well ok, perhaps just a little bit).
Photo: Jonny’s drop goal.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

holding my breath

Yes, I know that last week I said “the semi-finals are of absolutely no consequence” (having beaten Australia), but I’ve subsequently actually been dreaming of England getting to the finals (we’re not talking football here, by the way!)!
I’ve been having a number of “wouldn’t-it-be-brilliant-if-we-made-the-finals” conversations with various friends (notice how it becomes “we” if the team is doing well and “they” if they aren’t!).
I’m saying no more…..

dear peter

I was delighted that Al Gore has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, along with the UN’s Intergovernment Panel on Climate Change. I don’t know if you’ve seen his film “An Inconvenient Truth” but, if you haven’t, I would certainly recommend that you to do so. There is comparatively little in the film/documentary that I wasn’t already aware of, but I still found it compelling viewing. To my mind, I think it would be hugely beneficial for pupils if they had an opportunity to see the film at School (albeit with the “accompanied guidance” prescribed by a British Judge this week!).
The following extracts from an article by Andrew Lee (a member of the Geographical Association)(see for suggested ideas for using the film with students) echo my own thoughts:
Whilst his message is hardly new, the significant thing is that the message is all in one place, and it is explained by a highly profiled credible person, who happens to be an American. Gore quotes Churchill from the 1930s, who whilst speaking in another context, as ever made a poignant and universal statement: 'The era of procrastination, of half-measures, of soothing and baffling expedients, of delays, is coming to a close. In its place, we are entering a period of consequences …'.
Yet the biggest threat to our future may not be climate change, it just might be our own apathy, or even our resolute refusal to acknowledge what just might be an inconvenient truth. Take your children to see this film, take your partner, take your parents, take your class, take your school. Make a pledge to get as many people as you can to see this film”.
I’d be happy to lend you the DVD if required!
Let me know what you think.
Many thanks
Note: This is an e-mail I’ve sent to the Headteacher at our School.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

hiv+stephen fry

Watched both parts of Stephen Fry’s excellent documentary on HIV Aids on BBC tv. Completely absorbing; moving; challenging; sensitively produced; lots of myths exposed; brilliantly presented. It reflected on how, in the early 1980s, little was known about Aids or how to treat it and how, in the UK, people were warned of its dangers via the "Don’t Die of Ignorance" campaigns. Twenty years later, infections are rising, particularly amongst three groups: the young; black African communities; and heterosexuals. The number of new infections amongst straight people now outweighs those in the gay world. I’ve read some of the messages on the BBC messageboard. I was particularly struck by this:
“I was diagnosed HIV+ 6 years ago, when I was 16. To date I haven't told anyone in my life other than the relevant medics. As was highlighted in the programme, it's not the fact that I have HIV that makes me wary of disclosing, but the way by which I undoubtedly caught it - I was an IV drug-user, involved in prostitution and did neither of them safely. My mistakes, my consequence”.
Check out the GIJonny link.

Sunday, October 07, 2007


Found these rather amusing (many thanks to Kymberley Jane Ashwood via John Simmons’ facebook page):
a) uncertain about being able to pay next month’s rent/mortgage?
b) so what is facebook all about?

Saturday, October 06, 2007

world champions

Yes, I know. I feared the worst when England took on the might of Australia in the Rugby Union World Cup quarter-finals earlier today. In the event, it was an entirely justified 12-10 English victory and I feel very good about it all!
I watched the game in the John Cabot pub in Bristol’s Corn Street with a group of friends from school and the atmosphere was amazing (even to the extent that people were calling for “hush” when Jonny Wilkinson was taking his penalty kicks – as if it made any difference to him!). Initially, we had considered meeting up in the Australian “Walkabout” pub just opposite but, on reflection, I think we made the right choice!
The semi-finals are of absolutely no consequence – England will probably lose whoever they play…. but it was VERY important that we beat the Aussies!
I might even e-mail my cousin Keith in Australia later!
Photo: Andy Gomarsall celebrating victory.