The Anonymous Widower

Will Bread And Circuses Help Us Through COVID-19?

Bread and circuses is an old phrase that goes back to Roman times.

It looks like TV and on-line cooks and chefs and the supermarkets have given us the first, so do we need more of the second?

At the weekend, I enjoyed watching quality horse-racing on ITV, so wouldn’t it be sensible to get football on free-to-air television as soon as possible.

It might encourage people to stay-in, rather than gather in groups.

Would it cut the spread of COVID-19?

June 9, 2020 Posted by | Food, Health, Sport, Uncategorized | , , , | 3 Comments

The Death Of The Duke Of Wellington

I used to use this pub occasionally, as it showed football on a large screen and served reasonable gluten-free pizzas.

But it is closed because of COVID-19!

How sad!

March 26, 2020 Posted by | Food, Sport | , | 3 Comments

A Medical Bulletin On Myself

About two on Saturday morning, I got out of bed to go to the toilet and tripped into the en-suite bathroom causing myself a serious head injury. I also cut my hand, but what on I do not know! I suspect, that I knocked myself out and when I woke up, my bedroom and living room was like a murder scene with blood everywhere.

The Royal London patched me up, putting a large plaster on my left hand and I stayed Saturday night in the hospital.

My son brought me home on Sunday and I slept that night at home.

On Monday, the cleaners tidied up the mess.

Tuesday, I called 999 again, as I was on the point of falling over and the Royal London found my blood pressure was low, when I stood up. It had been like that, when I had my stroke in Hong Kong and they had to resort to using old-fashioned mercury blood pressure meters.

There was no extra damage and I came home in a taxi.

I’m a bit more normal today, although I seem very sleepy and my INR is just 1.2. 111 told me to start Warfarin yesterday. Which I did!

I shall watch the football on the television and go to bed tonight.

 

 

March 4, 2020 Posted by | Health, Sport | , , , | 9 Comments

Why Are Liverpool Good At Transfers?

This question was asked on BBC Radio 5, about Liverpool Football Club.

As an alumni, I raise money for cancer research at Liverpool University.

I get the impression, the University has no problem getting the best researchers to come to the Second City of England!

Everybody in the World has heard of Liverpool!

February 16, 2020 Posted by | Sport, World | , , , , | Leave a comment

An Open Letter To Jamie Burles Of Greater Anglia

I will open by saying that this letter is not a complaint about your company, as you, like all your passengers and staff are just suffering collateral damage from the overwhelming incompetence of the real culprit.

I have been supporting Ipswich Town, off and on, since my parents retired to Felixstowe around 1960, when the next door neighbour used to take me to Portman Road.

In 2007, after living together in Suffolk for nearly forty years, my wife died of a squamous cell carcinoma of the heart, followed in 2010, by our son, who died at just thirty-seven of pancreatic cancer. I am coeliac and because of all this grief, I neglected my health, which caused me to have a serious stroke. Luckily, the only lasting problem, I suffered was a partial loss of vision, which meant I was unable to drive.

So I sold up in Suffolk and moved back to London, where I had been born in 1947.

For a couple of years, things went well coming out to Ipswich for matches by train. Typically, on a match day I would have a gluten-free lunch in London and catch the reliable 12:30 Norwich express and just arrive in my seat a few minutes before kick-off.

I should note, that there is only one reliable place for a coeliac like myself, who needs gluten-free food to eat in Ipswich and that is Pizza Express. But you can only eat so much pizza! I can get gluten-free sandwiches in Marks and Spencer, but as with the pizza, it means walking to the centre of town and at seventy-two now, that is not such an easy proposition, as it once was.

Over the last six years, the journey has got worse. The much longer journey  time on replacement buses, means I can’t eat properly or do any of the other things , I need to do in life on an average Saturday.

Consider.

  • Football may be important to me, but it is not that important.
  • I should say, that sometimes, I go via Cambridge, when replacement buses are in operation for a change, as I can have a meal in the city with friends or buy sandwiches in the Marks & Spencer in the station.
  • In all these years of disruption, it always seems that if Ipswich are at home on the Saturday, there would be a busification of the service, whereas on other Saturdays a full service operated.

When I first started coming out from London to see matches, there were quite a few supporters on the trains from London, including one guy in a wheel-chair. Over the years many seem to have fallen by the wayside, because of the constant disruption.

I had hoped that this season, Network Rail’s deplorable project management of the Great Eastern Main line, which often results in surprise closures,  would have been consigned to history.

But if ever, there have been more closures this season and the latest batch of nine closures starting on Saturday, are the last straw as far as I am concerned.

Saturday’s closure was particularly inconvenient, as Kings Cross was closed and the West Anglia Main Line was running a reduced service, so in the end, I had a late breakfast at St. Pancras and took Southeastern Highspeed to Ebbsfleet where a friend and fellow Ipswich season ticket holder, who lives nearby, gave me a lift  to the match. The home-to-home round trip , was actually almost as long, as that on the previous Saturday’s trip to Tranmere.

Looking at the next few Saturday Ipswich home games, I see the following.

  • Peterborough – 1st February – Normal service (?)
  • Burton Albion – 15th February – Buses
  • Oxford United – 22nd February – Buses
  • Coventry – 7th March – Buses
  • Portsmouth- 21th March – Buses
  • Rochdale – 18th April – Buses

I probably speak with more authority, than most, as the company I started in Ipswich; Metier Management Systems, is recognised as one of the companies, that changed project management completely, in the last three decades of the twentieth century. At times, half the major projects in the world were being planned and managed by software I wrote in a Suffolk attic.

I rate, Network Rail’s performance over the last few years in the wider UK, as one of the worst project management disasters I have known, alongside Berlin’s Brandenburg Airport, the legendary hospital built the wrong way round, and the Boeing 737 MAX.

January 26, 2020 Posted by | Sport, Transport | , , , , , | 3 Comments

Call For Bank of England Executive To Quit Over Security Breach

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on the BBC.

A former member of the Bank of England has called for the resignation of its chief operating officer after it emerged an audio feed of sensitive information had been leaked to traders.his is the introductory paragraph.

In any form of speculation or betting, information is key and I would suspect, that some have made a lot of money, with this information.

Betting, is full of stories, where information has been used to advantage.

In one, well-known punters, had access to the team sheet of a famous football club before the players.

So I’m not surprised at the shenanigans at the Bank of England.

December 20, 2019 Posted by | Finance, Sport, World | , , | Leave a comment

Welcome To The LNER Stadium… Train Operator Sponsors Lincoln City Football Club Stadium

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Rail Advent.

Sincil Bank willnow be the LNER Stadium.

In LNER To Put Lincoln On The Rail Map, I detailed LNER’s plans to run five trains per day in each direction and also to increase weekend services.

I also speculated that LNER might extend the service to Grimsby and Cleethorpes.

Conclusion

It does appear that the extra services between London and Lincoln and the sponsorship of the stadium are part of a larger plan.

This might fit in with an extension of the service to Grimsby and Cleethorpes.

December 12, 2019 Posted by | Sport, Transport | , , , , , | 2 Comments

The New White Hart Lane Station Opens

The new White Hart Lane station opened on Monday and I went along this morning and took these pictures.

Some points about the design.

  • The station has three entrances on the stadium side and two on the other.
  • Materials used include terracotta pots and weathered steel.
  • There is a pedestrian tunnel under the railway for those that don’t want to use the trains.
  • There are two sets of stairs to both platforms
  • There are lifts to both platforms.
  • The station can probably handle twelve-car Class 710 trains if required on match days.
  • There are solar panels on the roof.
  • The station  must have some of the tallest overhead electrification gantries in the UK.

From what one of the project managers told me, it appears that the station was built by cleaning, refurbishing and strengthening the viaduct and then erecting an independent steel frame on either side to form the station.

It looks like a technique that could be used on other stations on viaducts.

It’s certainly a better station with a larger capacity, than the previous one, that I used many times back in the 1960s.

The old station is to be demolished, at some point in the future.

Conclusion

It is an excellent station, that should serve its main function of getting supporters to and from Tottenham Hotspur’s new stadium.

But will the station and the soon-to-arrive new trains have other effects.

  • As I said earlier, the design could be repeated with different cladding for other stations on viaducts.
  • I believe that good public transport infrastructure tends to calm crime and anti-social behaviour. Only the statistics will give a verdict.
  • Will the passenger numbers rise through the station?
  • Will the station and the stadium attract some better class retain premises and cafes, as the Emirates has done?

And perhaps most importantly! Tottenham Hotspur now has two new stations to serve the ground! Will this reduce the congestion caused by large crowds?

 

August 28, 2019 Posted by | Sport, Transport | , , , , | 2 Comments

Will People Look Back At the 14th of August 2019 As A Significant Day in History?

On the 14th of August, Stephanie Frappart refereed the 2019 UEFA Super Cup between Chelsea and Liverpool.

This article on the BBC, is entitled Stephanie Frappart: History-Making Referee Praised For Super Cup Performance.

The tone of the title is typical of the comments in various newspapers and on web sites.

There was some criticism for the penalty award to Chelsea, but then many fans and commentators don’t agree with penalty decisions.

I watched all of the match and she and her two female assistants, certainly did a better job, than some officials, I’ve seen in the top two English divisions.

I look forward to the day, when the gender of the referee is irrelevant and they are judged solely on their competence.

Was Wednesday’s Super Cup a first major step towards that goal?

Conclusion

We mustn’t forget that for most countries in the world, football is the most important sport, so the ramifications of Ms. Frappart’s performance, may be greater than we first think!

August 17, 2019 Posted by | Sport, Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

Refereeing At The Women’s World Cup

At times, as in today’s England game against Cameroon, refereeing has not been of the highest quality.

I watch a lot of football and being a referee is something I would not want to do!

But I do have a few thoughts!

Are Some Of The Referees Not Fit Enough?

I have my suspicions on this one, as some of the bad decisions seem to have happened, when the referee is behind the play!

Referees from major football playing countries, probably officiate in many more games and come under much more scrutiny about their fitness, than they do in other countries.

Was It A Mistake To Send Referees Home From The Last Sixteen Countries?

I know why FIFA has done this, but does it get rid of a lot of the best and most experienced referees?

Perhaps delaying until the last eight would have been better?

Should We Integrate More Women Officials Into The Men’s Game?

We are always hearing that there is a shortage of referees for matches in the UK

I wouldn’t be surprised that this is a problem in a lot of countries, with large league structures.

Surely, welcoming more women into the profession would help to ease the shortage.

I actually, think, as with many other trades and professions, the shortage will mean that more women are welcome.

I should say that at Ipswich in the Chapionship, we have had the occasional woman assistant referee and there hasn’t been any adverse crowd reaction.

But, I suspect, other crowds and possibly countries wouldn’t be so friendly.

Conclusion

The standard of refereeing by women will improve, as more come into the game, due to the shortages.

But no real progress will be made in the UK, until a woman referees a high-profile League or Cup match.

The first time it happens, will be down to a chapter of unfortunate circumstances.

Perhaps a team of four for a match will contain two women, one of whom will be the fourth official.

The man refereeing the match, becomes unable to do so, as happens a couple of times during matches in the Premier League every year.

Perhaps, the man running the line has made a terrible howler and is getting stick from an angry crowd.

So, the inevitable decision will be made.

After all, Bibiana Steinhaus, has refereed in the Bundesliga for a couple of years.

One of her problems according to Wikipedia, has been that Iran cut her out of broadcasts of matches, when she is the referee.

But then there’s no accounting for that religious basket-case!

 

June 24, 2019 Posted by | Sport | , , , , | Leave a comment