Monday, 14 August 2017

That catch...

Many years ago, your old idiot chum, Scrobs, played a few games of cricket with two clubs - one was the village, and the other was the Summer version of the Rugby Club, as they had a lot of serious drinkers, and at five-bob a head, the kitty wasn't that onerous!

To be fair, I was never actually going to get beyond Number Eleven in the batting (some suggested perhaps twelve, or even thirteen), but my fielding (apart from dropping a doddle at mid-off once) wasn't that bad, and when I was allowed to come closer to the bat than about four miles away, I'd shine like a beacon in a dull Sussex sky!

In the RFC Cricket section, we had a superb chap, who knew everything about the game, and was one of the best bowlers I'd ever seen. If I say his name (David Vale), someone might sue me, but who cares, I was only number eleven, so that's enough!

David always poked fun at me in a friendly way, and I usually told him to sod off, so that was that. In one particular game, however, he went all serious.

'Scrobs', he shouted, 'Get close to the bat at silly mid off'!

Bugger this, I thought! It was their number three at the crease, and he'd been clonking fours and sixes everywhere on the park!

David re-made the order.

'SCROBS, GET BLOODY CLOSER'...!

'Over by the far canal'! I was within about three inches of the batsman's glove and still being told to get even closer! A mild repost to David was met with disdain, a smirk, and complete bollocks.

So, down came the first ball.

Tap.  Wimp.

Vale sneered.

Next ball, a tentative prod to leg.

Vale snorted.

Next ball; a superb off-spin which turned almost ninety degrees, and left the batsman in a real mess, so he tried to belt it, missed the meat of the bat, popped up an edge which went about three feet away from his pads, then turned away.

Scrobs did the unfathomable. Being right-footed, and still in diarrheic fear of a smack right in the chops from either bat or ball, (or perhaps both), the ball hovered about a yard above the batting crease like a full moon does on - er - a batting crease..

Scrobs' full length of five foot seven and three-quarters leapt straight out and left-handedly grasped the ball an inch above the grass. It was the catch of a lifetime, and while I sit here, thinking about how great life is an' all that, I'll still remember the look on the bowler's face as he notched another wicket...

Bloody man, that David...


Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Is that all there is...

Last week, I was tinkering about here, reading something on the PC, when Mrs Scrobs called through to say that she'd just read that Robert Hardy had died. We're great fans of his TV stuff, and although I knew he was getting on, it was still a saddening event to record.

Just a few seconds later, she added that ''someone" Bennett had also died. I didn't hear who, and I thought she'd said 'Jill Bennett', so I Googled the lady, only to find that she died by her own hand ages ago.

So, reading the Wiki entry even further, it mentioned that Alan Price (a favourite musician here), sang a special song 'Is that all there is', while the assembled friends cast her ashes on The River Thames, together with those of Rachel Roberts, another lovely lady from the same time. Lindsay Anderson made his last film here.

The video is here. (it may need a rewind to the beginning).


It's a poignant piece, and so very thoughtful.  The slow brass piece at just over half-way (3:14) with the flowers floating on the water is heart-breaking and I fill up everytime I see it.

Bessie Smith recorded the first version, and of course, she was 'The Mistress' of such fabulous music. Her rendition is here. She was just magnificent!



A few weeks ago, I met an old friend whom I hadn't seen for forty or so years. We swapped all the old yarns, laughed a lot, had several beers, and agreed that we'd do the same again soon. I had been saddened though, to learn of one particular lovely friend from the seventies, who was losing a battle against a terminal condition. We'd been good friends, and she'd been to our wedding, and we went to hers years ago.

Just more recently, there was a big funeral for a famous old local chap, whom everyone knew and admired, because he'd overcome all sorts of physical indignities all his life, and had beaten them all. It was a huge wake, with several hundred people in a marquee the size of a small village. The drinks flowed like water, and the chat was outstanding. I'd only heard about the funeral that morning, and was determined to go - even making a collar-button extension for the only shirt that fits me at the moment...

My friend was too ill to attend, but I learned that her battle was getting harder and that made me feel a bit mortal to be honest. Her husband - another old chum from the past - was there, and must have been feeling pretty rotten too.

Getting back to the Jill Bennett story, Mrs Scrobs explained that it was indeed 'Hywel' Bennett who'd joined the 'Virgin Soldiers' on high, and that was also a sobering thought, as 'The Family Way' came out at the same time as I was wondering what to do if or when I eventually got a girlfriend...

So, as the title says, 'Is that all there is'?




Thursday, 3 August 2017

Fitbit...


Image result for fitbit charge 2

No, not a new bird, just a postage stamp sized gadget given to me by Daught and Sil for my birthday!

Even my doctor was impressed, especially as my blood pressure is normal for the first time in ages!

And I reached the target once last week, so all those onions and spuds will just fly out of the ground!

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Units...

After a celebratory week of forensic bottle-interior investigation, Scrobs has uncovered a serious mistake in the 'requirement' to publish how many alcoholic units does it take to get noticed by some sort of watchdog...

F'rinstance, our local Tesco was flogging Southern Comfort for £15.00 a bottle, which we thought was a billy-bargain, as a 'Soco and lemonade' on a hot day is a welcome tincture, and we availed ourselves of this generous offer on several occasions, as the cheap deal seemed to go on forever!

On the posher end of the scale, the very same grocers was knocking out Glenmorangie (bog standard single malt) at around £20.00 a pop, and as our birthdays are close together, we said to each other, 'Well, why not'?

While idly peering at the labels during a lull in the conversation recently, I noticed an unusual anomaly in the gibberish these suppliers have to print all over the back of their bottles these days.

Southern Comfort - 70cl - ABV 35% - UK units per bottle: 24.5
Glenmorangie - 70cl - ABV 40% - UK units per bottle: 28.0

Now I've never claimed to be a mathematician, but isn't there something wrong here?

Shurely the malt should have fewer units than the Soco, as it has a higher ABV!

This called for further investigation and resulted in another exercise in comparison, all conducted under laboratory conditions: -


Anno Gin - 70cl - ABV 43% - UK units per bottle: 30.0

Gordons Gin - 100cl - ABV 37.5% - UK units per bottle: 37.5
(this is from a litre bottle, therefore redushed to 70cl, it becomesh 7/10 which equalsh 26.25 units).

Bells Scloostch - 100gals - ABoVe the cloudds 400% - UK Brexit units per bottle: 40.00009.76 messures
(thish is f0rm a metre bottler, therefore redacted to 70 pints it becomesh 7 bastards of something or other which equalsh 280 million of the sodss.0 units).

Finoished allllll the Sherrry now an' theres not alot lefft on the shelfd....

crash...



Wednesday, 19 July 2017

A silver sixpence...


Brian May from 'Queen' is one of my favourite guitarists.

I always liked the solo from 'Killer Queen', back in the seventies, and indeed, since then, he has made some astonishing riffs, including one standing on the parapet of Buckingham Palace!

It's common knowledge that his guitar of choice is one he and his dad made some years ago - the 'Red Devil'. It is a unique instrument, and his plectrum of choice is an old sixpence. I know there are many good guitarists who grace these columns, Thud, Elecs to name but seven of them, and they will probably know what I mean when a guitar string is plucked, and the thumb or forefinger just touches the string at the same time, an amazing sound can be produced. It's almost impossible to do it twice, which may mean that a slightly different version happens if the technique is tried a second or third time, but these repeat notes create a huge vocabulary of rich guitar sounds.

So Brian, today is your seventieth birthday, and by coincidence, it is also mine, so Happy Birthday!

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Only in America...

DUI Texas style:


          Only a person in Texas could think of this...
          From the county where drunk driving is considered a sport, comes this true story.


          Recently a routine police patrol parked outside a bar in Austin, Texas. After last call the officer noticed a man leaving the bar so apparently intoxicated that he could barely walk.

          The man stumbled around the parking lot for a few minutes, with the officer quietly observing.


          After what seemed an eternity in which he tried his keys on five different vehicles, the man managed to find his car and fall into it.


          He sat there for a few minutes as a number of other patrons left the bar and drove off.


          Finally he started the car, switched the wipers on and off; (it was a fine, dry summer night), flicked the blinkers on and off a couple of times, honked the horn and then switched on the lights.


          He moved the vehicle forward a few inches, reversed a little and then remained still for a few more minutes as some more of the other patrons' vehicles left.


          At last, when his was the only car left in the parking lot, he pulled out and drove slowly down the road.

          The police officer, having waited patiently all this time, now started up his patrol car, put on the flashing lights, promptly pulled the man over and administered a breathalyzer test.


          To his amazement, the breathalyzer indicated no evidence that the man had consumed any alcohol at all!


          Dumbfounded, the officer said, I'll have to ask you to accompany me to the police station. This breathalyzer equipment must be broken.
         "I doubt it", said the truly proud Redneck.  'Tonight I'm the designated decoy.'

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Whooping cough...

Apparently, when I was a tiny little chap, I had whooping cough, and my pram and my cot took a bit of a battering...

A lovely chum told me yesterday that there seems to be an underlying increase in cases of whooping cough. She had an awful time with it a year or so ago. She's much younger than me - at least a generation, and as we're a group of mates meeting regularly, we'd noticed how 'down' she was for much of the time, but being a real fighter, she dealt with the problem in her own way.

Several other pals are now showing similar symptoms, and it's been recognised as a local 'Hack', but an implicit discussion is emerging which may prove that the immunisation we kids got some years ago, is wearing off, and symptoms are returning in a few other ways.

My chum eventually got over it, but claimed that a couple of teachers at her children's' school had been coughing for weeks, and one went to get checked out properly. She was diagnosed as having the whole damn lot, and put up for a cure a.s.a.p.

While 'conspiracy theories' will always be around for just about everything, this issue is a bit worrying, because once the politicians get hold of it, the NHS will get bashed even further, and undoubtedly another layer of expensive management will be created, just to deal with the condition.

On a happier note, my chum was cured by the technique of altitude conditioning. Her dad had a PPL, and hired a plane to take her up 10,000 ft for a spell, and from then on she recovered! I'd never heard of this before, and checking it all out, back in the seventies, there were regular forays into the phenomenon, and they had a lot of success!