Hello Dear Reader, once again it’s for a catch up.
The Easter break has come and gone and Storm Katie has been battering half of the UK.
Unusually, it was the Midlands to the South which took the brunt of the damaging winds.
There was garden fence and tree damage locally, but personally I escaped with some ripped roofing felt on my shed.
Cubs Scouts is currently on the Easter break.
The Reigate Cub Scout Cooking Competition (which we won last year) surpassed my expectations and our young team of 2 eight and 2 nine year olds managed to cook a two course meal in 90 minutes from scratch for less than £5 using 4 gas burners (and without losing any fingers, having any disasters or giving the judges food poisoning).
This year’s theme was 100 years of Cub Scouts, so Baloo managed to find “An Indian Recipe” from 1917 and a recipe for a Spotted Dick pudding.
During practice, the Indian Recipe produced a really good Chicken Curry with onions. It was very flavoursome chicken dish and a beautiful sauce (not all sauce like a modern curry).
The Spotted Dick pudding was really good, but we some learned that it did need a full 60 minutes boiling in the Muslin cloth.
The rules say that a leader cannot assist their own team, and I was a little out of position as I was keeping an eye on another group at the opposite end of the hall from ours.
This proved frustrating, but I did at least manage to get word to ours to use some more heat to help reduce the sauce for the main course.
Points are awarded for Teamwork, Food Hygiene, Presentation, Technique and Taste with 10 points for each.
Out of a total of 50 points, the winners got 42 points.
Our team managed 41 points, so finished second.
Third place in the morning groups achieved 39 points.
There were four more teams in the afternoon session, the highest of which was awarded 31 points.
It was a really great effort from such a young team, and it is great to see these kids taking on a challenge so successfully.
But I am not sure who was more chuffed at the result, the Cubs or their parents. More than one of them told me that the youngsters had never cooked before!
We have a visit planned to the local Fire Station for the first meeting of the new term next week and in April, we will be going down to Brighton for the day and seeing a special screening of the new version of “The Jungle Book”
Yet again, I have been appalled by atrocities in Europe.
My thoughts go out to the victims and their families.
The bombings at Brussels Airport and Metro Stations on 22 March were both indiscriminate and shocking.
The perpetrators must learn that no good can ever come of this behaviour.
I was also saddened to hear that Johan Cruyff had lost his battle with cancer.
He was one of the first wave of flamboyant international footballers that I was really aware of. Such an exciting player to see in a World Cup and European Championships.
Luckily, his vision of “Total Football” and the “Cruff Turn” will live on.
<The moment the Cruyff turn was introduced to the world>
Johan Cruyff RIP
My beloved Vinyl
I have spent spare moments over the past few weeks cataloguing my old vinyl collection. I love the format, but no longer play it and really could not part with it.
The popular end of the collection is now on show <<<<here>>>>
I also have many classical LPs, but I do not feel quite as emotionally attached to those!
I have been to a couple of gigs in the last week.
Last Thursday, Emmy The Great played a lovely gig at the Islington Assembly Hall supporting the release of her third album “Second Love”.
Although the Photography Fascists were in evidence, I did manage to sneak a few reasonable pictures, which are here.
Saturday’s gig by The Tuts was less successful. Having got to Barfly at Camden, I was surprised to see their name on the bill to perform at 9:45, as the band themselves had said that they would be on early.
At about 7:30, their names were being crossed from the bills and we were told that The Tuts would not be playing.
The band came through the bar as they left and explained to a few of us disappointed fans that they had agreed to an early slot as they were expected elsewhere at 10:00. They found that the Promotor had bumped them up the bill to headliners when they arrived, and their previous commitment meant they could no longer play.
We did have a chat about the new album and how things were going with the Pledge Music crowd funding.
They are nice kids. Attitude in spades, but real nice girls.
That is about all for now.
Chin chin xxx
I have spent most of this week, resting up and doing some site updates to include my really brilliant weekend at this year's Glastonbury Festival.
There are links to my diary, and daily photo galleries.
Follow the Glastonbury 2015 link under Interests > Music in the main navigation menu or follow this shortcut:
<Glastonbury 2015 Pages>
I will add some thoughts in the aftermath shortly, when life gets back to normal a little.
In April, (only a couple of weeks ago) we have Easter and it's associated Good Friday and Bank Holiday weekends. Hot on the tail of those we have what before Mrs Thatcher's interference was known as the "May Day Holiday" - the Bank Holiday on Monday is now unimaginatively called the "Early May Bank Holiday".
With the bank holidays, and a few days leave plus a couple of days sick, it seems like an absolute age since I last worked a full week - it is probably four weeks at least. A chap could get used to that.
We are having a Cub Scout meeting tomorrow on the Bank Holiday - a bit of fire making.
Been a little 'busy' this week on the music front. I have received a couple of CDs through the post and "collected" a couple of others.
On Thursday (May Day) I enjoyed a great evening at the Hammersmith Eventim with Billy Bragg. The atmosphere was like school "end of term". Good support from Seth Lakeman and Phill Jupitas. <<photos here>>
On Friday, tickets for the Seasick Steve gig at the Royal Albert Hall on 23 May dropped on the doormat. Unusual one this, as it is for a Dog Charity and I will be going with James and his girlfriend,Tara. I am looking forward to that one.
With only one game left in the season, my beloved Arsenal have managed to secure 4th place in the Premier League and so are in the Champions League qualifying knock-out stages next season.
Just hope that they don't gag when it comes to the FA Cup Final against Hull City in two weeks time.
I have been a bit annoyed by criticisms of the Arsenal set up this season. I agree that after being on top for so much of the season, maybe - just maybe - they should have finished stronger. I think however that people's expectations needed to be brought back a bit.
At the start of the season, pundits expected nothing from the Gunners - in fact, even as they topped the table at Christmas, nobody tipped them as Champions.
As has been proved right, they could simply not cope with games at the "top" clubs.
I resent the "I told you" from the smug pundits - there are lot of Arsenal-haters out there. They expected nothing of the Gunners. The bubble has burst.
If that is actually the case, tell me why they are fourth in the table ? The beauty of a league is that the team who finishes top deserves to be top - no more, no less.
In their defence, it was a close-thing. I wonder how close they could have come if Theo Walcott, Aaron Ramsey, Lucas Podolski and Jack Wilshere had not suffered long-term injuries when their form was excellent.
I do enjoy a fan's "what-if" and "if-only".
I think in honesty that Arsenal's squad needs increasing to improve it's strength in depth. The nucleus of the team is great, but lacks injury and rotation cover. A couple of players out and there is just no players to come in and do a job.
From a personal point of view, Nikolas Bendtner needs to be replaced and Yaya Sanogo needs experience at another club. In particular, I cannot see what Arsene Wenger sees in Sanogo - he does not seem to have a clue.
Relegation is now certain for Cardiff City and Fulham, if results go as expected Norwich City will join them in the drop.
To this armchair pundit, I think that Manchester City will get the results they need to win the title.
Web site - I have tried to tidy up some of the pages.
Until the next one...
It is done. Complete. Ready for on-going updates.
Photo galleries published. Text tweaked.
Search function added.
Ready for public participation.
Hooray, hooray and yowser!!!
All the Music Fan related pages on my site are now written and published. It has taken me an age of stolen moments to get them up there.
Now I "just" need to make some of the other pages a bit more current and that will be it.
Two big fan music pages built this weekend and in the end decided on the "less is more" approach.
Bruce Springsteen and Johnny Cash.
All under the Interests >Music > A-Z tab.
To wish you a Happy New Year, I have re-organised and re-done the site pages about my experiences at Glastonbury in 2011.
Go to Interests > Music > Glastonbury 2011
It is a very special one for me, I hope the new layout, thoughts and diary bring this across to you.
Once again, Happy 2014
To mark the 13th anniversary of her tragic death, I have written a bit about her on my website.