Archive for December, 2013

Quirky Memories of Christmas Past

Saturday, December 28th, 2013

.Whenever I open a can of tuna my thoughts turn to a Christmas many moons ago. My marriage had broken down and I would not be seeing my children on Christmas Day. I ended up at my brother’s home and one thing led to another with me storming out of the house just before the turkey was placed on the table. I drove 45 miles home smoldering all the way. I slammed the front door shut, closed all the curtains, unplugged the phone, opened a can of tuna and sat down to watch an “Only Fools and Horses” special, or it could have been the “Morecambe and Wise Christmas Show.”

Suddenly I realized I had left my parents stranded at my brother’s house. Luckily my brother’s father-in-law gave them a ride home. Later that night I furtively drove over to my mum’s expecting a deserved torrid reception, but she was very concerned for me. She smiled and said: “You should have told me you were leaving; I would have come with you!”

My first date with my ex-wife was at the Christmas office dance in Mumbles. She lived on the other side of town and was staying the night at her girlfriend’s parents’ house. The girl’s parents were very snooty and during a conversation asked their guest if her father had any hobbies. She replied he enjoyed horse racing, and they asked how many horses her father owned. She replied sheepishly that he didn’t own any, but he liked to bet on them!!

It doesn’t snow very often in Swansea, but a few years ago we were supplied with the white stuff on New Year’s Eve.  My wife had flown over from America and we were enjoying the festivities at home in Tycoch. To celebrate the New Year, she adorned a long fleece coat, stepped out the front door and lay on her back in the snow flailing her arms and legs to create a snow angel. One or two of the neighbors were twitching at their curtains totally bewildered by the appearance of an angel. I guess it’s an American thing.

One year before we were married I flew over to America to spend Christmas with my future wife. One of her favorite activities during the festive season was selecting a live tree from the Christmas tree farm near to her home. This is a time when size does matter not to mention thickness, stature, coloring and type.  We duly arrived at the farm with the temperature approaching 75 degrees, and armed with a saw, we set out in search of the perfect tree.  She immediately spotted one that matched all her requirements, but chose to peruse the rest of the crop just in case there was a better tree lurking in the background.

Two or three hours later, we returned to the first tree she liked and duly felled it in lumberjack fashion. I’m not sure whether my internal temperature had exceeded the external temperature, but she did mention something about me resembling a kettle about to boil.

My wife loves surprise gifts at Christmas which drives me crazy. She won’t allow me to buy her clothes. She has a Kindle so I can’t give her books, and her music tastes are quite eclectic. My standby was usually a jewelry store located in Stone Mountain. But on Christmas Eve, much to my horror, I discovered it had gone out of business. I was at my wit’s end, devoid of ideas, and the only gift I had bought her was a vanity mirror. On Christmas morning the base of the tree was stacked with my presents from her while the vanity mirror stood alone. I’m still not sure to this day whether she wanted to laugh or cry. On reflection she was definitely in a state of shock and awe.

I hope you all have a happy and healthy New Year.


Quit Lolly-Gagging Around and Write Something

Saturday, December 21st, 2013

This blog, and any subsequent blog for that matter, is dedicated to my son Shaun who is probably my only regular reader. He’s learned a couple of things about his dad and grandfather by reading some of my meanderings which makes the occasional blog worthwhile.

 So where was I? Last month I was intrigued by the response from America to the death of Nelson Mandela. Some hack in the Deep South called him the greatest African American who ever lived. Think about it folks. Then was the case of the sanctimonious TV reporter who quite correctly stated that Mandela was instrumental in ending apartheid in South Africa, but conveniently forgot that while slavery was abolished in America in 1865 it would take almost a hundred years for civil rights laws to be passed, and subsequently an additional couple of decades for the Black man living in America to have anything approaching equal rights.

This conveniently brings me onto Barack Obama, the first Black president of the United States who has tried his level best to bring this once great country to its knees. Excuse me; I digress. Not wishing to miss an opportunity to bolster his ego Obama was giving a eulogy at Mandela’s Memorial Service. Standing a mere three feet away was a gentleman producing sign language for the deaf whom the Establishment later discovered was a load of gibberish. It also transpired that the gentleman signing gibberish to a worldwide audience had a criminal record. Obama later distinguished himself by self-photographing with his arm around the Danish Prime Minister who just happened to be a blonde bombshell. Michelle Obama’s body language sitting alongside the hapless President was priceless. She resembled a bulldog licking urine off a stingy nettle.

I know it wasn’t supposed to be amusing, but again American TV news stations concentrated on the fact that Mandela was instrumental in bringing the Rugby World Cup to South Africa in 1995, and latterly the FIFA World Cup in 2010. Maybe I was reading it wrong but it kind of trivialized Mandela’s accomplishments in uniting a divided nation. Mandela was truly a great man, and one feature that impressed me was the fact he was incarcerated for 28 years, but never held a grudge or sought revenge against his captors.

And now for something completely different: I have been a lifelong supporter of Tottenham Hotspur which is no mean achievement when you consider Spurs have not won the title since 1960-61. They have had many great players over the years, but somewhere in the depth of White Hart Lane there is a self-destruct button.

Following Tottenham’s humiliating 0-5 defeat at home to Liverpool last Saturday the much maligned manager Andre Villas-Boas was fired after just over a year in charge. My gut reaction was to whole heartedly endorse his sacking, but now I have to question whether the right man was held accountable.

 Spurs have adopted the ridiculous European management system where they employ a Director of Football (Paolo Bandini) who is responsible for signing players. He assembles a squad and then hands them over to the team manager (Andre Vilas-Boas) to produce a successful formula on the field.

 In the summer Spurs reluctantly agreed to sell their best player, Gareth Bale, to Real Madrid for $100 million. Spurs spent the money on signing 7 new players. The Portuguese manager asked his chairman to buy Hulk, Moutinho and David Villa as he planned for life without Bale, but none of whom were signed.

On the contrary, Villas-Boas objected to the acquisitions of Lamela, Chadli, Ciriches and Eriksen, a quartet who cost Spurs a total of $85 million, but his judgment was overruled. Villas-Boas became the fifth managerial casualty in the Premiership this season, and soon to be followed by Malky Mackay who has upset his demonic Malaysian owner at Cardiff City.

 Finally a word about my home town team Swansea City; I watched them recently struggling to take a point off lowly Hull City at home and it was like watching paint dry. They enjoyed 67% of the possession in the first half and failed to have one shot at goal. Admittedly they are recognized as a passing team, but they don’t appear to have the personnel who can pass with purpose and tempo.

Coming soon; I will be publishing my review of 2013. I know I’ve whetted your appetite but control yourself and chill out over Christmas.