Sunday, 30 September 2007


So the pool stages are finished and the the two stand out quarter finals are England v Australia and New Zealand v France. Fiji have done well but the loss of their fly half will hamper there ability to beat South Africa and Italy v Argentina will be a big forward battle but may lack the subtley of the other games. I would like to play tribute to the minnows of the tournament who have played their part in making this a great tournament (USA, Samoa, Tonga, Romania, Italy, Portugal, Japan, Canada, Georgia, Namibia and of course Wales and Ireland). There is talk of reducing the number of teams to 16 but I think this is a mistake as the only way to improve the level of play is to play against the best teams and to spark interest in the home country (Georgia has gone rugby crazy apparently). Some of the larger beatings occurred when asking the smaller teams to play two matches in four or five days and they don't have the squad depth. It would be fairer to ask the bigger teams to have more games more often but then they would not be playing on the weekends when the larger crowds and tele audiences can watch and satisfy the audience. An example of this is Japan who had to play the 8th, 16th, 20th and 25th (4 games in 17 days) whereas France played on the 7th, 16th, 21st and 30th (4 games in 23 days).

The Result

Well we lost but it was a tight affair and the result of the game will hang on the eligibility of one of the opposition players who is registered with Highbury in London and may be ineligible thus giving us a 5-0 win. Not sure of the score about 8-5. I scored a penalty and was good defensively but the timing and understanding in attack is yet to gel.

The new Korfball Season

Well later today the korfball season starts and I think that it will be a tough season. Firstly a lot of players have gone to university and that has weakened the club. Secondly getting promoted and a change in the structure of the divisions means the quality of the opposition will be a lot greater. Thirdly there have been a lot of new people have started this term meaning during training I have been helping others. Fourthly I am not certain who all of my team mates are. I have a feeling that they are young players moved up from the under 15 league which means that they will have to learn that they are no longer the biggest/ fastest/ strongest player, showing off to their mates with stupid long range shots or behind the back passes is not going to help us win any matches and to play as a team incorporating all the players in the team. Fifthly Ireland and Argentina will be playing rugby at the same time and I must not be distracted.

Anyway there is a touch of excitement and apprehension. After all we might be brilliant. Check out our progress at I am in Norwich City 3.

Thursday, 27 September 2007


Well the term is well and truly in full swing and the work is piling up like the Himalayas around me. There is a small relief in the fact that work experience for Yr11 is in two weeks and that will free up a bit of time and the school has finally appointed a member of staff to cover for a colleague who has had to go part time and that has taken a few lessons from me as well. This year has presented a few new opportunities for me as I am mentoring the new teacher in the department as well as the student teachers when they come into school and leading a group of teachers in continued professional development! This means I have to show new teaching techniques but sadly they are not new and everyone already knows them so you come across as patronising. However, taking on the extra work all counts towards whether I cross from normal to upper pay scale at the end of the year so all is worth it. Generally classes seem harmless with the odd strange character here or there but the timetable is arranged so that I get the worst class on a Friday Period 5 and no non contact (free) periods between Monday Period 5 and Friday Period 3 so I have to be super organised which I am not. My main gripe is that support staff and management seem to pursuing their own objectives and making decisions which don't help the kids.

Wednesday, 19 September 2007

Robert Jordan

Robert Jordan has for a long time been a favourite author of mine. James Pratt with whom I shared a house in Sheffield introduced me to his writing and the first six books of his Wheel of Time series. Since 1996 he has written 5 more in the series creating a complex world of alliances and betrayal, of battles and war, of good versus evil and of human relationships and sacrifice. I have been eagerly awaiting the final installment when the hero takes on evil and wins (I guess). The date of publishing has kept on being put back and when I looked into the reason I found that the author had cancer although reading his blog it appeared that he was writing as much as he could manage. Unfortunately he died at the weekend leaving his last work unfinished like all the great artists and it will be interesting who if any attempts to write the final book and end the (what ever the word for 12 is) ology.


Around the year 2000 Rallying was on the tele all the time and it was a huge sport mainly because two of the main contenders were British. Colin McRae and Richard Burns routinely fought out tight finishes on ice, gravel, mud and concrete with drivers such as Carlos Sainz, Didier Auriol, Tommi Makinen and Marcus Gronholm. The speed at whiich they drove on narrow, tree or cliff lined roads with their co driver shouting instructions was really good fun. Wrapping your car around a tree was common and crashing on to the roof of your car and having the crowd turn you back on to your wheels so you could carry on was routine. The hard charging McRae who would prefer to crash in the hope of winning as opposed to the cool, icy perfectionist that was Burns was a real contrast and it was real entertainment. So I was saddened to hear of Colin McRae's death only a couple of years after Burns passed away. A video tribute to McRae and Burns can be found on these links. And here are some accidents for a bit of fun.

Saturday, 15 September 2007

Favourite Players

I have two favourite players Joao Uva of Portugal who is a big bearded flanker who seems to play the game with a huge smile on his face and Marius Tincu who was bald and managed to cut his head and there was blood everywhere and he had to keep going off to have a dollop of Vaseline on his head to stop it. Later in the game he had a knock to the head and was woozy but still wanted to play despite the fact the doctor had told him there was no way he could carry on.

Also the whole of the Georgian team Paliko Jimsheladze, Otar Barkalaia, Meko Kvirikashvili, Bessik Khamashuridze, Irakli Machkhaneli, George Shkinini, George Elizbarashvili, Otar Eloshvili, Makho Urjukashvili, Irakli Guiorgadze, David Katcharava, Rezo Guigauri, Irakli Abusseridze, Bidzina Samkharadze. Goderdzi Shvelidze, Avtandil Kopaliani, Mamuka Magrakvelidze, David Khinchaguishvili, David Zirakashvili, Akvsent Guiorgadze, Ilia Zedguinidze, Victor Didebulidze, Mamuka Gorgodze, Levan Datunashvili, Guia Labadze, Besso Udessiani, Rati Urushadze, George Chkhaidze, Zviad Maissuradze and Ilia Maissuradze. I mean I can't stop laughing at the commentators attempts with this selection of names
(PS I like cut and paste)

I was right

So shortly after the last post the computer stopped entirely and completely. The part of the hard drive with Windows on was corrupt so I took it to the computer shop but despite the words repair in bold on the window they don't do repairs but were able to give me the number of a bloke who did. He was able to fix Windows so that it opened and then clone the hard drive to another hard drive and install that so all works again and I did not loose any files (always back up your files )

Monday, 10 September 2007

Hard Drives

One day the computer works fine, the next you have problems. It looks like problems with the hard drive and starting up. The system has become unreliable and occassionally crashes for no reason but as the computer expert once said,
"There are two types of hard drive, those that are broken and those that are about to break"


As a English person I am naturally drawn to the underdog in any sporting contest and will be completely biased about who I want to win and how I see the match and things like refereeing decisions. So I was delighted when France were beaten by Argentina (although it is debatable whether they were an underdog) but disheartened by New Zealand 74 - Italy 14 and Australia 91 -3 but the underdog fights back. England 28 - USA 10, Ireland 32 - Namibia 17, Wales 9 Canada 12 at half time and Scotland 56 Portugal 10 were all excellent performances from the underdog where the vast proportion of the team are amateur and the professionals don't play in the top leagues. The International Rugby Board provided the cash to appoint a fitness and a forwards coach for each of the emerging nation and training each day has had an effect.

Thursday, 6 September 2007

RIP Pavarotti

I don't like opera especially as not being able to understand the words lessens the meaning and context and I find the higher registers difficult to listen to Pavarotti holds a special place in my development into the person I am. In 1990 the World Cup was in Italy and the Three Tenors did a performance with Pavarotti singing Nessun Dorma which was used as the opening theme tune to Italia 90 (the football world cup in Italy) and this was what sparked my interest in football and all sports except rugby. So when I see or hear Pavarotti it takes me back to Cameroon beating Argentina, Gazza's tears, Waddles penalty miss so high it is still rising, Linekar's goals, Costa Rica beating Scotland, Platt's last minute over the shoulder volley, Cameroon and Roger Milla playing when he claimed to be 38 but was probably around 45 and finally losing to Germany on penalties again. I can even remember where I was during the fateful semi-final as I was part of a concert at Leighton Middle School of Heidi where I had the major role of the vicar! At half time in the play we found out that Germany had scored and at the end of play that England had equalised. By the time we had walked home the penalties were finished and England had lost. So thanks for the memories. (PS if you watch the video do you remember that world symbol used for about 5 years and doesn't Des look young)

Tuesday, 4 September 2007

Korfball Training

Tonight was the first korfball training of the year. As it effectively stops at Easter you haven't seen people for about 5 months so it is a bit of a reunion if the same old faces all looking slightly older. I have played for Norwich City for 7 years and it has been run and coached by the same people. The next group of people you notice are the new people who are usually hanging close to the person who has introduced them and as yet are lacking the confidence to pick up a ball and shoot at the hoop. The third group you become aware of are the newly promoted under 13's who are hanging around in a crowd of their peers. It takes slightly longer to think about who is not there, usually those that have gone to university or people who move away and kind of vanish.

While everyone arrives there is some shooting at the post as a kind of unofficial warm up and the action of shooting is so unusual and uses muscles that are not normally exercised that your arms get tired really quickly. After a bit of fitness work and some words of motivation we divide up to practice skills and Marian takes all the new people and tries to show them the basic. You realise that half will never come back and the other half will return regularly. After the skills work the groups are divided into teams and we play some games. If you are against a new person you try to take it easy so you don't scare them off and if you are against an under thirteen you try not to squash them. In a couple of weeks playing hard will be the norm. There is a small subsection of the under thirteens that have been the biggest/ strongest and fastest at their age group and are a bit cocky. Against those you play hard, intercept passes and block them from the post just to remind them this is the big league now and try to ensure that they play in the team and not the superstar as they used to be.

Good to see that the pattern was followed again this year.

Monday, 3 September 2007

New Year Resolutions

As this time of year is the beginning of a new school year and at the same time becoming a year older means I usually reassess my life and set out my new years resolution. I thought if they were in the public domain I might stick to them a bit longer.


1. Be more organised and try to implement the one touch approach to paperwork (read it and deal with it one touch)
2. Try and mark work more promptly and remember to give it back.
3. Try and find a new job for Sept 2008 in a different country. the favourite at the moment is Canada after really enjoying the trip to North America in the summer.


1. Go and gym or swim four times a week
2. Score at least 75% of all the penalties I take in matches.
3. Improve my long shooting.


1. Wear more shirts to social events
2. Be prepared to be more forceful in large group to put a point across and not just enjoy listening
3. Undertake a new hobby of some description

Happy New Year

Sunday, 2 September 2007


It was probably a throw away comment, something said to every customer in the shop, one of those things that people say, part of the service offered but what an effect. After having the return to school haircut the barber asked if I wanted my eyebrows trimmed. That one simple question has made me paranoid about them. Are they too hairy? Where is the border between hairy and too hairy? Am I of the age where eyebrow growth will go into fast forward and sprout at a tremendous rate? Now I will have to keep a check on the problem and make sure it doesn't get out of hand when on Friday I did not realise it was a problem.